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NBA playoff bracket 2020: Updated standings, seeds & Round 1 projections in Orlando

Sporting News — (Jordan Greer)

The NBA season is typically a marathon run of games over several months, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has turned the 2019-20 campaign into a sprint toward the finish line.

The playoff fields in each conference are now set, and there should be plenty of drama as teams begin their postseason runs.

Can one of the West teams prevent a Clippers vs. Lakers showdown in the conference finals? Will anyone challenge Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in the East? Those questions will soon be answered.

Let's take a look at the 2020 NBA playoff picture, including the final standings and seedings.

Series-by-series breakdowns & NBA Finals picks

NBA playoff bracket

Here are the first-round matchups in each conference:

Eastern Conference

(1) Bucks vs. (8) Magic

(2) Raptors vs. (7) Nets

(3) Celtics vs. (6) 76ers

(4) Pacers vs. (5) Heat

Western Conference

(1) Lakers vs. (8) Trail Blazers/Grizzlies

(2) Clippers vs. (7) Mavericks

(3) Nuggets vs. (6) Jazz

(4) Rockets vs. (5) Thunder

NBA standings

Here are the NBA standings based on games completed both during the 2019-20 regular season prior to the suspension of play and inside the league's "bubble."

Eastern Conference

Seed Team Record Games back

*clinched playoff berth
**clinched conference
Eliminated: Bulls, Cavs, Hawks, Hornets, Knicks, Pistons, Wizards

Western Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
8.Trail Blazers***35-3918.5

*clinched playoff berth
**clinched conference
***clinched play-in berth
Eliminated: Kings, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns, Timberwolves, Warriors

When do the NBA playoffs start in 2020?

  • Play-in games: Aug. 15-16
  • NBA playoffs: Aug. 17
  • NBA conference finals: Sept. 15
  • NBA Finals: Sept. 30

"Seeding games" will be played through Aug. 14, and a play-in tournament will be held Aug. 15-16 with the first round of the playoffs starting Aug. 17. The NBA Finals will begin Sept. 30 and end no later than Oct. 13.

How do the NBA playoffs work?

The No. 9 Grizzlies finished within four games of the No. 8 Trail Blazers in the Western Conference standings, triggering a play-in tournament for the final playoff spot. The Trail Blazers only have to win one game in order to advance to the first round, but Memphis must defeat Portland twice if it wants to enter the playoff bracket.

Beyond the play-in round, the 2020 NBA playoffs will follow the typical format with full best-of-seven series all the way through the NBA Finals.