13 August 2020 04:42
Until the end of the NBA's seeding-game schedule on Aug. 14, Yahoo Sports NBA will deliver a daily bubble primer, complete with up-to-date standings and a breakdown of the schedule, from gambling odds to playoff implications and the biggest storylines. Today marks Day 14 of the restart to the 2019-20 season. NBA standings Eastern Conference Western Conference Wednesday's schedule (All times Eastern) (NBATV) (ESPN) BetMGM odds Playoff implications Indiana Pacers (43-28) vs. Houston Rockets (44-26) The Pacers will be locked into the East's 4-5 matchup with a win or a 76ers loss. The Rockets will be locked into the West's 4-5 matchup with a loss or a Nuggets win.
Toronto Raptors (51-19) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (42-29) The Raptors have clinched the No. 2 seed in the East. The Sixers will be locked into the East's sixth seed with a loss or a Pacers win. Miami Heat (44-27) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-27) The Heat would clinch fourth place in the East with a win or a Pacers loss. The Thunder will be locked into the West's 4-5 matchup with a win. The Jazz would be locked into sixth. Los Angeles Clippers (47-23) vs. Denver Nuggets (46-25) The Clippers would clinch the No. 2 seed in the West with a win. The Nuggets would clinch no lower than the No. 3 seed in the West with a win or a Rockets loss. Can Nuggets star Nikola Jokic be the best player on the floor against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers? (Harry How/Getty Images) More Who and what to watch The last gasp of the 76ers The Sixers are entering the playoffs in even more disarray than when chemistry issues plagued them on and off the court before the suspension of the season. All-Star point forward Ben Simmons is out indefinitely following surgery on his left knee. All-Star center Joel Embiid injured his left ankle six minutes into Sunday's loss to the Blazers and missed Tuesday's loss to the Suns. Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said he was hopeful Embiid could return by Friday's regular-season finale, but his status for Wednesday is still in doubt. Likewise, fellow starters Al Horford and Tobias Harris sat Tuesday with knee and ankle soreness, respectively, and Brown suggested their minutes could be restricted if he does not rest them entirely. There was no indication the Sixers had rediscovered an identity when Simmons and Embiid were healthy. There was far greater evidence the issues with a misfit roster had grown worse. A top-six defensive outfit prior to the restart, Philadelphia ranks fourth from the bottom inside the bubble. There was a chance that Simmons' absence could allow Embiid to flourish in a simplified power structure, but that hope is fleeting. A team in search of a rhythm all year is furthest from it with two games to play in the regular season. You might think a game against the second-seeded Raptors — a team the Sixers could face in the second round if they were to pull off an upset of the rival Celtics — would be an opportunity to test their mettle one more time before being thrown to the playoff wolves. But every game only seems to raise more concerns. A potential Western Conference semifinals preview The second-place Clippers and third-place Nuggets meet on Wednesday with some stakes still on the line. An L.A. win would clinch the No. 2 seed. A Denver win would leave two more playoff pairings undecided until their regular-season finales. The question is whether either team cares about facing the Mavericks as the No. 2 seed in the first round or either the Thunder or Jazz as the No. 3 seed. Either way, the Clippers and Nuggets will be favored to meet each other again in the Western Conference semifinals at month's end.