NBA playoffs 2023: News, highlights, scores, more

The 2023 NBA playoffs are almost here.

The Golden State Warriors are the defending champions but are still battling to qualify for a top-six seed in the playoffs, in which 16 teams will face off in four rounds of action to determine the 2023 NBA champion.

The top six teams in each conference automatically qualify for the playoffs, while the teams that finish the regular season in seventh through 10th place will advance to the NBA’s play-in tournament to determine the final two playoff teams in each conference. The play-in tournament will take place Tuesday through Friday, with the first round of the playoffs tipping off April 15.

The NBA Finals are slated to start June 1, with Game 7 — should the series go that long — scheduled for June 18. All NBA Finals games will be available on ABC and the ESPN App.

Playoff tiebreaker scenarios

All of the Eastern Conference seeds are set, but there is still much to be decided in the West. Here’s a look at where everything stands with one day remaining in the regular season, and how it all could shake out:


No. 1 seed: Milwaukee Bucks

Wednesday night’s win against the Chicago Bulls locked the Bucks into the top seed in the East and ensured Milwaukee of the best record in the NBA.

No. 2 seed: Boston Celtics

Wednesday night’s win against the Toronto Raptors locked the Celtics into the second seed in the East.

No. 3 seed: Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia is the third seed and will play Brooklyn in the first round.

No. 4 seed: Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland is the fourth seed and will play New York in the first round.

No. 5 seed: New York Knicks

New York is the fifth seed and will play Cleveland in the first round.

No. 6 seed: Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn’s win over the Orlando Magic earned the Nets the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round matchup with Philadelphia.

No. 7 seed: Miami Heat

Miami’s loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday means the Heat will host the Atlanta Hawks in the 7-8 game Tuesday night.

No. 8 seed: Atlanta Hawks

Toronto’s loss to Boston Friday means the Hawks will travel to Miami for the 7-8 game Tuesday night.

No. 9 seed: Toronto Raptors

Toronto’s loss to Boston Friday means the Raptors will host the Bulls in the 9-10 game Wednesday night.

No. 10 seed: Chicago Bulls

Chicago is the 10th seed and will travel to Toronto to face the Raptors in the 9-10 game Wednesday night.


No. 1 seed: Denver Nuggets

Denver is the top seed in the West after Memphis lost to New Orleans on Wednesday night.

No. 2 seed: Memphis Grizzlies

With their win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, the Grizzlies are the second seed in the West.

No. 3 seed: Sacramento Kings

Memphis beating Milwaukee Friday night locked Sacramento into the third seed in the West.

No. 4 seed: Phoenix Suns

Phoenix is the fourth seed in the West.

No. 5 seed: LA Clippers

After beating Portland on Saturday, the Clippers have moved back into fifth place in the West. If LA beats Phoenix on Sunday, it clinches the fifth seed and a date with the Suns in the first round of the playoffs. The Clippers would also finish fifth if they, Golden State and New Orleans all lose.

The Clippers will finish sixth if they lose, the Warriors win and the Pelicans lose, and will finish seventh if they lose, the Warriors win and the Pelicans win.

The Clippers cannot finish below seventh.

No. 6 seed: Golden State Warriors

Golden State will clinch a top-six spot in the West playoffs with a win over Portland on Sunday.

The Warriors will finish fifth if they win and the Clippers lose. They will finish sixth with a win and a Clippers win.

The Warriors lose the tiebreaker with the Clippers, Lakers and Pelicans, so in any combination of ties with any of those teams, the Warriors would finish last. A loss to Portland would have the Warriors land in the play-in tournament unless the Lakers and Pelicans also lose Sunday.

No. 7 seed: Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are in seventh after beating Phoenix, as they hold the tiebreaker over the Pelicans thanks to winning the season series. But to move into the top six and avoid the play-in, the Lakers will need help.

Specifically, the Lakers will need to beat the Utah Jazz on Sunday and need the Warriors to lose in Portland to the Trail Blazers.

If the Lakers win, they cannot finish lower than seventh. If the Lakers lose, they’ll finish in eighth.

If Golden State wins Sunday against Portland, the Lakers will be guaranteed to finish in a play-in tournament spot.

If the Lakers and Pelicans win and the Clippers and Warriors lose, creating a four-way tie at 43 wins, the Pelicans will finish fifth, followed by the Clippers in sixth, Lakers in seventh and Warriors in eighth.

If the Lakers win and the Clippers, Pelicans and Warriors lose, creating a three-way tie at 43 wins between the Lakers, Clippers and Warriors, the Clippers would be fifth, the Lakers sixth and the Warriors seventh.

No. 8 seed: New Orleans Pelicans

Due to losing the season series with the Lakers, the Pelicans currently sit in eighth. If New Orleans beats the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, they can jump to as high as fifth in the playoff picture, depending on how other games play out. If Minnesota beats New Orleans on Sunday, the Pelicans will then host the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 9-10 game Wednesday night.

No. 9 seed: Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota’s win over San Antonio on Saturday sets up a winner-take-all game for a top-eight seed in the West between the Timberwolves and Pelicans on Sunday afternoon.

If Minnesota wins and the Lakers win, the Wolves cannot finish higher than eighth. If Minnesota wins and the Lakers lose, the Wolves will host the Lakers in the 7-8 game Tuesday night.

If Minnesota loses to New Orleans, it will finish ninth and host Oklahoma City in the 9-10 game Wednesday night.

No. 10 seed: Oklahoma City Thunder

Dallas losing to Chicago tonight clinches the 10th seed for the Thunder, who will travel to New Orleans, Minnesota or Los Angeles for the 9-10 game Wednesday night.

— Tim Bontemps

Latest news

Eastern Conference

The Boston Celtics are the defending Eastern Conference champions.

Through games played Friday, the Eastern playoff seeds are set. Milwaukee Bucks, Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets have clinched a playoff berth and have locked in the top six seeds in the East. The Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat are guaranteed a spot in the play-in tournament.

The first-round playoff matchups are:

  • 1. Bucks vs. 8. Play-in winner

  • 2. Celtics vs. 7. Play-in winner

  • 3. 76ers vs. 6. Nets

  • 4. Cavaliers vs. 5. Knicks

  • Play-in: 7. Heat vs. 8. Hawks

  • Play-in: 9. Raptors vs. 10. Bulls

Western Conference

The Golden State Warriors are the defending Western Conference champions.

Through games played Friday, the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns have clinched a playoff berth.

The Nuggets are the top seed in the West. The Lakers and Pelicans have clinched spots in the play-in but can still reach the top six.

As of Friday, the first-round playoff matchups would be:

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2020: LeBron, Lakers claim bubble title

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2019: Kawhi becomes King in the North

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2017: Durant puts Warriors back on top

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