NBA Playoff Picture 2024: Updated Play-in Standings, Predictions After April 6

April 7, 2024

The Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers produced victories on Saturday that positioned them nicely to take advantage of the swing games in the play-in races in the Eastern and Western Conferences on Sunday.The Sixers beat the Memphis Grizzlies to move one game back of the Indiana Pacers and a half-game behind the Miami Heat. Indiana and Miami play each other on Sunday.Los Angeles crawled up to within a half-game of the New Orleans Pelicans in the West standings with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.The Lakers will benefit from the result of New Orleans’ Sunday clash with the Phoenix Suns regardless of which team wins.Updated NBA StandingsEastern Conference1. Boston (61-16)2. Milwaukee (47-30)3. Cleveland (46-32)4. Orlando (45-32)5. New York (45-32)6. Indiana (44-34)Play-In Race7. Miami (43-34)8. Philadelphia (43-35)9. Chicago (37-40)10. Atlanta (36-42)The Sixers handled their business in Memphis behind 30 points and 12 rebounds from Joel Embiid.Embiid only played 23 minutes on Saturday, which should help with his recovery ahead of Sunday’s visit to the San Antonio Spurs.Philadelphia needs to beat San Antonio to take full advantage of the Indiana-Miami result.The Pacers only have four games left, so they have more urgency to win on Sunday than Miami with an extra game in hand.After Sunday, the Sixers finish with three home games against already-eliminated teams, so they could be poised for a jump into sixth over the Pacers and Heat.The Atlanta Hawks fell to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. They are now 1.5 games back of the Chicago Bulls for the No. 9 seed and appear destined to visit Chicago with their season on the line at the start of the play-in round.Play-In Prediction: 7. Indiana, 8. Miami, 9. Chicago, 10. AtlantaWestern Conference1. Minnesota (53-24)2. Denver (53-24)3. Oklahoma City (52-25)4. Los Angeles Clippers (49-28)5. Dallas (47-30)6. Phoenix (46-31)Play-In Race7. New Orleans (45-32)8. Los Angeles Lakers (45-33)9. Sacramento (44-33)10. Golden State (42-35)11. Houston (38-39)The Lakers inched closer to the Suns and Pelicans with their win over the Pistons.The tougher task lies ahead on Sunday for the Lakers at home against the top-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves.Minnesota is in competition with Denver and the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top seed in the Western Conference. The Wolves are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the most road wins in the West.A Lakers win would put them in competition for the No. 6 seed going into the next week.Phoenix will likely beat a struggling New Orleans team on Sunday, which means the Lakers can try to secure the No. 7 seed and home court throughout the play-in at minimum.The Lakers will dictate how the play-in standings shake out since they host Golden State on Tuesday and close out the regular season in New Orleans.The Pelicans might be in freefall mode since they visit Phoenix, Sacramento and Golden State as part of a four-game road run that starts on Sunday.Play-In Prediction: 7. Los Angeles Lakers, 8. Sacramento, 9. New Orleans, 10. Golden State