NBA Playoff Picture 2023: Updated Standings, Predictions After Knicks vs. Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 07: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates his basket with Dennis Schroder #17 and Rui Hachimura #28 during a 112-103 Lakers win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Arena on March 07, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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The Lakers took a bit of a hit to their playoff hopes Sunday night following a 112-108 loss to the New York Knicks that knocked Los Angeles out of the playoff picture for the moment.

With the loss, L.A. fell to 33-35 and is now the 11th seed in the Western Conference, just outside of the play-in slots after entering the night as the ninth seed. But that is just how tight it is in the West at the moment.

The good news for Anthony Davis and Co. is that the team has managed to stay afloat in the absence of LeBron James, who has missed several games with a foot tendon injury and is expected to miss a few more.

But with about 15 games left in the season, the Lakers will have to get moving, or they could be caught slipping.

Here are the updated standings and some insight on what to look forward to over the the final few weeks of the regular season.

Eastern Conference Standings

1. Milwaukee Bucks (48-19)

2. Boston Celtics (47-21)

3. Philadelphia 76ers (45-22)

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (43-27)

5. Brooklyn Nets (39-29)

6. New York Knicks (40-30)

7. Miami Heat (36-33)

8. Atlanta Hawks (34-34)

9. Toronto Raptors (32-36)

10. Chicago Bulls (31-36)

11. Indiana Pacers (31-37)

12. Washington Wizards (31-37)

13. Orlando Magic (28-40)

14. Charlotte Hornets (22-48)

15. Detroits Pistons (15-53)

Western Conference Standings

1. Denver Nuggets: (46-22)

2. Sacramento Kings: (40-26)

3. Memphis Grizzlies (40-26)

4. Phoenix Suns: (37-30)

5. Los Angeles Clippers (36-33)

6. Golden State Warriors (35-33)

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (34-34)

8. Dallas Mavericks (34-34)

9. Utah Jazz (33-35)

10. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-35)

11. Los Angeles Lakers (33-35)

12. New Orleans Pelicans (33-35)

13. Portland Trail Blazers (31-37)

14. San Antonio Spurs: (17-50)

15. Houston Rockets: (15-52

In the East, the battle at the top still has a long way to go after Milwaukee took the top seed from Boston but hasn’t managed to pull completely away from the Celtics. The gap between the two is just 1.5 games.

Boston and Milwaukee are set to face one more time on March 30 in a game that is sure to have huge seeding implications.

There is also quite the battle going on between the Knicks and Nets for the fifth and sixth seeds. The neighboring teams have flip-flopped a few times over the last few weeks, most recently with Brooklyn taking back the No. 5 seed.

One of the more surprising developments is that the Miami Heat have not managed to work their way out of the play-in spots and have actually fallen even further behind the No. 6 seed, with the gap between them and the Knicks at 3.5 games.

While Miami has shown glimpses of being the team that was the No. 1 seed in the East last season, it hasn’t shown enough consistency to look like any type of contender.

With time running out, it looks like the Heat are headed for their first play-in tournament.

Unlike the East, the top of the Western has remained steady, with the Nuggets still sitting atop the conference with a five-game lead over the Sacramento Kings.

Where things get really interesting is in the middle of the standings, where just 4.5 games separate the fifth seed from the 13th seed.

It’s what has allowed a team like the Lakers, who got off to a slow start in 2022, to be able to climb up the standings so quickly.

With just about a month left in the regular season, there’s sure to be plenty more twists and turns that’ll leave the conference looking completely different.

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