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Clinching scenarios for NBA playoffs on Sunday, May 16th

We take a look at Sunday’s potential clinching scenarios for teams seeking a bid to the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers in the game against the Indiana Pacers during the fourth quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 15, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The NBA regular season wraps up on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. ET with games running all the way until a 9 p.m. ET tip-off. There’s still a ton of movement that can take place in the standings, so most of the games being played have NBA playoff implications for both the seeding and play-in tournament. The play-in tourney will take place May 18-21 with games taking place each day to decide thee 7 and 8 seeds in each conference.

Here are the clinching scenarios for Sunday’s matchups via.

LA Lakers clinch a playoff spot with a win AND a loss by Portland.

Phoenix clinches best record in West with a win AND a loss by Utah.

Portland clinches a playoff spot with a win OR a loss by the LA Lakers.

Utah clinches best record in West with a win OR a loss by Phoenix.

The NBA also outlined seeding/clinching scenarios for each conference and what needs to happen for certain teams to get each seed. It’s pretty complicated but we’ll try and break it down. You can find the full spreadsheet here: Eastern Conference and Western Conference.

Celtics vs. Knicks, 1 p.m. ET

So the early game to watch is the Celtics vs. Knicks contest with New York trying to lock up the No. 4 seed. The Miami Heat are in the 6-seed and lost last night to the Milwaukee Bucks, so chances are they’ll end up facing the Bucks in the first round. If the Knicks lose, that opens up a chance for Miami and the Atlanta Hawks to move up into the 4-5 slots. The Celtics appear to be resting players with nothing to play for, since they’re locked into the 7-seed and the play-in.

Pacers vs. Raptors/Hornets vs. Wizards

These two games will decide the play-in matchups in the East. The Pacers, Wizards and Hornets are all tied in the standings at 33-38. The Raptors and Pacers are both resting a ton of starters and key players, so that game may not be too competitive. The Hornets are going for the 8-seed to have a shot at getting the 7-seed. Charlotte-Washington should be competitive. Bradley Beal is playing for the Wizards as well despite sitting the past few games with a hamstring injury.

Grizzlies vs. Warriors, 3:30 p.m. ET

The Dubs and Grizzlies are tied at 38-33 and will be facing each other with the 8-seed on the line. Whoever wins this game will end up facing the Los Angeles Lakers or Portland Trail Blazers in the 7-8 game in the play-in. Whoever loses ends up facing the Spurs in the 9-10 game. If the Nuggets throw their game against the Blazers, Portland will likely be the 6-seed, so facing the Lakers isn’t ideal but there are also two chances to get a playoff spot for whoever finishes in the 8-seed.