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NBA standings: Seeding scenarios, breakdown for final spots in 2021 playoffs

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NBA standings: Seeding scenarios, breakdown for final spots in 2021 playoffs

Brace yourselves, basketball fans. The 2021 NBA playoffs are almost here.

There is an added level of intrigue this year with the league implementing a new version of the play-in tournament, which was first seen inside the Florida “bubble” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of the traditional eight-team fields in each conference, a total of 20 teams will participate in the postseason.

MORE: Latest standings | Daily NBA schedule

With multiple contenders battling for playoff positioning, the final stretch of the regular season should provide plenty of entertainment. 

Here’s a snapshot of the current NBA playoff picture, including standings and potential matchups for each conference.

NBA standings 2021: Eastern Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
1. Nets 41-20
2. 76ers 40-21 1
3. Bucks 37-23 3.5
4. Knicks 34-28 7.5
5. Hawks 34-28 7.5
6. Celtics 32-29 9
7. Heat 32-30 9.5
8. Hornets 30-30 10.5
9. Pacers 29-31 11.5
10. Wizards 27-34 14
Bulls 26-35 15
Raptors 26-35 15
Cavaliers 21-40 20
Pistons 19-43 22.5
Magic 18-43 23

NBA standings 2021: Western Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
1. Jazz* 44-17
2. Suns 43-18 1
3. Clippers 43-20 2
4. Nuggets 40-21 4
5. Lakers 36-25 8
6. Mavericks 33-27 10.5
7. Trail Blazers 32-28 11.5
8. Grizzlies 31-29 12.5
9. Spurs 31-29 12.5
10. Warriors 31-30 13
Pelicans 27-34 17
Kings 25-36 19
Thunder 20-41 24
Timberwolves 18-44 26.5
Rockets 15-46 29

*clinched playoff berth
Eliminated from playoff contention: Rockets, Timberwolves

How does the NBA play-in tournament work?

  • The play-in tournament will be held after the conclusion of the 2020-21 regular season and before the start of the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. The teams that finish Nos. 1-6 in the standings of each conference will be guaranteed playoff spots, and teams Nos. 7-10 will enter the play-in tournament.
  • The No. 7 team will face the No. 8 team, and the winner will earn the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. The loser will still have one more opportunity to reach the playoffs.
  • The No. 9 team will face the No. 10 team, and the winner will advance to play against the loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 game. The loser of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game will be eliminated from playoff contention.
  • The loser from the No. 7 vs. No. 8 game and the winner from the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game will then play against each other. The winner of that game will be the No. 8 seed in the playoffs, and the loser will be eliminated from playoff contention.

NBA playoff picture: Seeding breakdowns

(Remaining strength of schedule via Tankathon and playoff probability via FiveThirtyEight)

Eastern Conference

1. Nets

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .508

Playoff probability: 99 percent

2. 76ers

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .421

Playoff probability: 99 percent

3. Bucks

Remaining games: 12

Remaining strength of schedule: .453

Playoff probability: 99 percent

4. Knicks

Remaining games: 10

Remaining strength of schedule: .537

Playoff probability: 84 percent

5. Hawks

Remaining games: 10

Remaining strength of schedule: .488

Playoff probability: 99 percent

6. Celtics

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .438

Playoff probability: 98 percent

7. Heat

Remaining games: 10

Remaining strength of schedule: .482

Playoff probability: 91 percent

8. Hornets

Remaining games: 12

Remaining strength of schedule: .480

Playoff probability: 56 percent

9. Pacers

Remaining games: 12

Remaining strength of schedule: .501

Playoff probability: 48 percent

10. Wizards

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .494

Playoff probability: 6 percent

Western Conference

1. Jazz

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .478

Playoff probability: In

2. Suns

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .531

Playoff probability: 99 percent

3. Clippers

Remaining games: 9

Remaining strength of schedule: .492

Playoff probability: 99 percent

4. Nuggets

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .519

Playoff probability: 99 percent

5. Lakers

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .507

Playoff probability: 99 percent

6. Mavericks

Remaining games: 12

Remaining strength of schedule: .435

Playoff probability: 93 percent

7. Trail Blazers

Remaining games: 12

Remaining strength of schedule: .544

Playoff probability: 74 percent

8. Grizzlies

Remaining games: 12

Remaining strength of schedule: .417

Playoff probability: 61 percent

9. Spurs

Remaining games: 12

Remaining strength of schedule: .611

Playoff probability: 17 percent

10. Warriors

Remaining games: 11

Remaining strength of schedule: .455

Playoff probability: 51 percent

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Marlins’ Jesus Aguilar quite literally tries to steal signs from D-backs’ Carson Kelly

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Marlins' Jesus Aguilar quite literally tries to steal signs from D-backs' Carson Kelly

Caught red-handed.

We know that batters can sometimes take a peek at catcher’s signs to try to get as much information as they can. It’s just part of baseball, after all. But Jesús Aguilar took it to the next level Thursday.

With Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly reaching first base, Aguilar decided to take a peak at the catcher’s signs — by lifting up Kelly’s wrist cheat-sheet.

MORE: Padres fan starts brawl after knocking out Rockies fan

Kelly responds with an incredulous, “What are you doing, man?”

Kelly’s disapproval to Aguilar taking a peek results in a hilarious reaction from Aguilar, looking like a kid who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar before breakfast.

Aguilar is one of baseball’s more fun personalities, so there’s nothing to read into here. But it’s not the first time that Aguilar has tried to steal signs. About a month ago, Aguilar stole an index card straight out of Dom Smith’s back pocket during a game against the Mets — presumably a defensive positioning card that players carry with them on the field.

The Marlins would go on to win the game 5-1.

If Aguilar keeps this up, he might be able to score a role in an “Ocean’s 11” reboot. 

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NASCAR lineup at Dover: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s race without qualifying

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NASCAR lineup at Dover: Starting order, pole for Sunday's race without qualifying

The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway was set by applying the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of the series’ races in 2021.

Drivers’ starting positions for the Drydene 400 (2 p.m. ET; FS1, TSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) were based on four factors:

  • Driver’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
  • Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
  • Team owner points ranking (35 percent)
  • Fastest lap from the previous race (15 percent)

NASCAR is conducting qualifying and practice for just eight Cup Series races in the 2021 season. The next qualifying session will take place prior to the May 23 event at Circuit of the Americas, a road course outside Austin, Texas.

Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race on Dover’s 1-mile oval.

MORE: Watch Sunday’s NASCAR race live with fuboTV (free 7-day trial)

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Dover?

Martin Truex Jr. was tabbed to lead the field to green for the Drydene 400 based on the mathematical formula. Truex is coming off his third win of the season, a dominating performance at Darlington last Sunday. He is the only driver to win more than once in the Cup Series in 2021.

Truex also gained the No. 1 pit stall, which is a valuable piece of real estate at Dover because track position is highly important on the Monster Mile.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is second in the series point standings to teammate Denny Hamlin, who will start in the second position Sunday. William Byron, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Chris Buescher received the other top-10 lineup spots.

NASCAR starting lineup at Dover

NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway, the Drydene 400, without qualifying.

Start pos. Driver Car No. Team
1 Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
2 Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
3 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
4 Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
5 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
6 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
7 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
8 Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
9 Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
10 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
11 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
12 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
13 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
14 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
15 Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
16 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
17 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
18 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
19 Ross Chastain 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
20 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
21 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
22 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
23 Erik Jones 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
24 Daniel Suarez 99 Trackhouse Racing Team
25 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
26 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
27 Anthony Alfredo 38 Front Row Motorsports
28 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
29 Justin Haley 77 Spire Motorsports
30 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
31 BJ McLeod 78 Live Fast Motorsports
32 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
33 James Davison 15 Rick Ware Racing
34 Cody Ware 51 Petty Ware Racing
35 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
36 Garrett Smithley 53 Rick Ware Racing
37 Josh Bilicki 52 Rick Ware Racing

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Oliveira vs. Chandler purse, salaries: How much money will they make at UFC 262?

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Oliveira vs. Chandler purse, salaries: How much money will they make at UFC 262?

There’s a whole lot of bling on the line at UFC 262, and not just from the lightweight championship belt.

Charles Oliveira (30-8-1, eight KOs) and Michael Chandler (22-5, 10 KOs) will vie for a significant payday and supremacy in the lightweight division as its Nos. 3- and 4-ranked fighters, respectively. That’s especially impressive for Chandler, who is fighting under the UFC flag for just the second time after moving on from Bellator. He is on a current three-win streak, all via knockout, heading into his bout vs. Oliveira.

Oliveira, meanwhile, is on an eight-fight win streak, mixing in wins via submission, KO and decision into the mix. Will he prove his superiority over the relative UFC newcomer, or will Chandler put his stamp as the best lightweight in the world in just his second UFC fight?

With that, here’s everything you need to know about the money they stand to make at UFC 262.

MORE: Sign up to watch the UFC 262 PPV, exclusively on ESPN+

UFC 262 purse, prize money

The official UFC 262 purse won’t be revealed until after the fight has concluded, but the headliners’ previous bouts in the Octagon could provide some indication of what they’re expected to make.

Michael Chandler made a reported $530,000 from UFC 257, which included his Performance of the Night, win and sponsorship bonuses. He made $350,000 in show money. Oliveira made a reported $250,000 from UFC 256: $115,000 to show, $115,000 as a win bonus and $20,000 in fight week incentive pay.

Considering that each fighter made those figures without headlining their respective events, it stands to reason that each will look to make at least $500,000 from UFC 262.

MORE: Everything you need to know about UFC 262

What is Charles Oliveira’s net worth?

Oliveria’s net worth is estimated between $2 million and $3 million per mmasalaries.com and $2.21 million according to sportkez.com.

What is Michael Chandler’s net worth?

Chandler has a net worth of $2 million, according to a 2020 estimate from wealthygenius.com.

UFC 262 card

Main card

  • Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler (lightweight championship)
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush (lightweight)
  • Katlyn Chookagian vs. Viviane Araujo (women’s flyweight)
  • Shane Burgos vs. Edson Barboza (featherweight)
  • Matt Schnell vs. Rogerio Bontorin (bantamweight)

Prelims

  • Jacare Souza vs. Andre Muniz (middleweight)
  • Lando Vannata vs. Mike Grundy (featherweight)
  • Andrea Lee vs. Antonina Shevchenko (women’s flyweight)
  • Jordan Wright vs. Jamie Pickett (middleweight)

Early prelims

  • Gina Mazany vs. Priscila Cachoeira (women’s flyweight)
  • Kevin Aguilar vs. Tucker Lutz (featherweight)
  • Christos Giacos vs. Sean Soriano (flyweight)

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