NBA playoffs seeding, Play-In Tournament and live updates:

April 10, 2024

The battles for seeding in the Eastern and Western Conferences could come down to the final day of the regular season. The NBA’s 2023-24 regular season ends in five days! Afterward, we get the Play-In Tournament before the real playoffs arrive. Until then, though, there’s still so much to settle and watch for this week. Here are the top five things to track. Be sure to keep the standings handy:The No. 1 seed in the WestThe No. 2 seed in the EastGetting out of the East Play-InThe 4-5 matchup in the WestAvoiding the Play-In in the WestWest’s race for No. 1 highlights NBA’s stretch run. Plus, Dawn Staley already among GOATs?GO FURTHERWest’s race for No. 1 highlights NBA’s stretch run. Plus, Dawn Staley already among GOATs?Giannis Antetokounmpo avoids serious injury, but likely to miss time: SourcesGiannis Antetokounmpo avoids serious injury, but likely to miss time: Giannis Antetokounmpo has avoided damage to his left Achilles tendon — a best-case outcome — and his return to play is based on treatment and rehab response for a strained calf, league sources tell The Athletic. Calves are undeniably tricky, and these type of strains have timetable of at least one-to-two weeks. But rehab will determine a length of time for the two-time NBA MVP.The New Orleans Pelicans handled business after a slow start in Portland and rolled to a 110-100 win over the Trail Blazers. With the Suns’ loss to the Clippers tonight, the Pels (47-32) jumped up to the sixth spot in the West and moved two games ahead of the eighth-seeded Kings.New Orleans also owns the tiebreaker over the Kings, who host the Pels on Thursday. If New Orleans wins its final three games of the regular season (at Kings, at Warriors and vs Lakers), the No. 6 seed will belong to them.31 PTS | 5 3PM | 8 REB | 2 STL— NBA (@NBA) April 10, 20247h agoLaw MurrayStaff Writer, ClippersThe LA Clippers were able to hold on despite losing 30 points of a 37-point lead, clinching a playoff spot with a 105-92 lead in Phoenix.The Clippers are locked into the 4-5 matchup after wins by Oklahoma City, Denver, and Minnesota tonight. One more win by the Clippers clinched home court in the first round.Warriors nab critical win over LakersWarriors nab critical win over LakersAdam Pantozzi The Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Lakers to move to 44-35. They clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker over LA (45-35) and now control their own destiny for ninth seed. If they beat the Trail Blazers, Pelicans and Jazz this week, they will finish ahead of the Lakers. With two Kings losses or three Pelicans or Suns losses this week, the Warriors can climb into eighth place with 3-0 finish.Final: Warriors 134, Lakers 120LA drops to 45-35. They’re just a half-game ahead of the Warriors (44-35) but Golden State has the tiebreaker and controls their own destiny. This is why those bad losses in December and January mattered.Anthony Edwards on the Timberwolves’ showdown with Denver tomorrow night, which will go a long way toward deciding the West’s No. 1 seed.”I think everyone know what is at stake, I don’t even need to talk about how big it is. Everybody know.”Yes, Draymond Green hit five first-half 3-pointers against the Lakers.The last time he made at least 5 threes in a game was in 2017. He went 5-for-6 in a blowout win against Chicago.This was the 15th time in his career he’s made at least five 3-pointers. His career-high is eight threes in a game, set in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.Usually, Green hitting three 3-pointers spells doom for the opponent. The Warriors entered Tuesday’s game 61-10 when Green makes 3 or more.They lost earlier this year with Green making 4-of-8 from 3. That game, he made them all in the first half. The Warriors would later squander a big lead and lose in the final seconds. It snapped a 10-game Warriors win streak when Green makes at least three.Here is an exchange I had with Bucks point guard Damian Lillard, who strained his right soleus muscle in his calf at the start of last season. Lillard’s teammate, Giannis Antetokounmpo, left tonight’s game with a left soleus strain.When I googled soleus strains in the NBA, I saw that…”I did it last year.”So, I was going to ask you, what did it feel like?”That s— hurt. It hurt. And it makes sense. Usually I’m able to walk things off, I feel like I have a high pain tolerance. When I did it, I started to walk, (but) it wasn’t just that it was that painful, it was that the muscle just can’t handle it. So, I think once it calmed down, you kind of figured out a way to limp around it, but it’s a weird feeling. But hearing that, I know, I know that feeling. And also as somebody who experienced that — if that’s what it is — that’s also encouraging.Is that something you were able to rehab pretty quickly? Or did you need to take some time off of it first?When I did it, I strained my calf, and then I came back after like, I’d probably say, eight or nine days, I came back from the calf. And then I strained, I had the soleus injury like right after I came back. I think it was like a game or two after I came back, I did my soleus. And then after that, it was like two weeks. For me, it was like two weeks and then I came back and played.Steph Curry’s spotty road history vs. LakersSteph Curry’s spotty road history vs. LakersAndrew D. Bernstein The last time the Warriors, who beat the host Lakers on March 16, won back-to-back games at Arena was 2019. It was the final season of the Kevin Durant tenure in Golden State. But the Lakers didn’t have LeBron James for either of those games. He was out after sustaining an injury on Christmas Day against the Warriors, and Anthony Davis was still a New Orleans Pelican.Take out the LeBron-less wins, and the Warriors’ last back-to-back road wins against the Lakers came in 2017 — that window between the Kobe Bryant and LeBron James eras. The Warriors followed a Nov. 29 overtime win at then-Staples Center with a Dec. 18 overtime win in Los Angeles.That Lakers’ squad? Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Clarkson, with 24-year-old Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and 29-year-old Brook Lopez as veterans.One of the reasons for the Warriors’ struggles: Steph Curry doesn’t shoot it well, traditionally, in this arena. With Steve Kerr as his coach since the start of the championship era, Curry has played 18 road games against the Lakers, including last year’s playoffs. He averaged 22.6 points on 41.2 percent shooting. He made just 52-of-177 from three-point range (29.4 percent).Conversely, in Curry’s 18 games in the same time frame, in the same building, but against the Clippers, he averaged 26.7 points on 49.5 percent shooting. He made 73-of-179 from deep (40.8 percent).Curry’s best games on the road against the Lakers came against Kobe. Curry has topped 30 just seven times in this building against the Lakers, three of them against the Kobe Lakers. Those three games are the only times Curry has made 5 threes or more. Curry’s biggest hame ever against the Lakers in this building: April 12, 2013. He scored 47, making nine threes in a two-point loss. He almost made the greatest shot of his life that game, his buzzer-beating beating heave from about 80 feet banked off the glass before rimming out.The Orlando Magic (46-33) may have squandered a golden opportunity to get the East’s No. 2 seed after losing 118-106 to the eliminated Houston Rockets on the road. Orlando still might get there if it wins out, since two of those games are against the Bucks, who now may not have Giannis Antetokounmpo due to a calf injury. But the Rockets had nothing to play for, so this loss stings.The Knicks (47-32) move up to the No. 3 seed temporarily after defeating the Chicago Bulls 128-117. But New York would lose tiebreakers to Orlando a