AUGUST 13: Following wins by the Thunder and Clippers on Wednesday night, three Western Conference first-round matchups have now been set, with only the Lakers still awaiting their opponent. Those first-round series are as follows:
- Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs. Play-in winner (8)
- Los Angeles Clippers (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7)
- Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Utah Jazz (6)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (4/5) vs. Houston Rockets (4/5)
We’ll know by the end of Thursday which two teams out of the Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, Suns, and Spurs will be participating in the play-in tournament in the West, but it may be Sunday before the Lakers know their first-round opponent.
AUGUST 12: As a result of the Pacers’ 108-104 win over Houston this afternoon, the four Eastern Conference matchups for the first round of the postseason have been set. They are as follows:
- Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs. Orlando Magic (8)
- Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Brooklyn Nets (7)
- Boston Celtics (3) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (6)
- Miami Heat (4/5) vs. Indiana Pacers (4/5)
Typically, the Heat and Pacers would be continuing to fight for home court advantage in their series, but the unusual nature of this season means claiming the No. 4 seed instead of No. 5 won’t make much of a difference.
Despite the fact that several teams were within two or three games of one another in the standings when the restart began – or were even tied, like the Pacers and Sixers – the first-round matchups in the East look exactly the same as they did when the season was suspended on March 11.
Over in the West, a small number of teams – including the No. 1 Lakers – are locked into their playoff spots, but most matchups remain up in the air. For now, the most likely pairings are Lakers/play-in winner, Clippers/Mavericks, Nuggets/Jazz, and Rockets/Thunder, but one or more of those could change by Friday.