Here's what the NBA playoff matchups would look like if the regular season ended prematurely

With the coronavirus continuing to shut down NBA play for the foreseeable future, a number of scenarios have been discussed as it pertains resuming action, and ultimately finishing the season, if and when that becomes a safe and realistic option. 

Depending on how long this current hiatus lasts, we could end up completing the remainder of the regular season, with each of the 30 teams having between 13-16 games left on their schedule. Or the league could decide to move straight into the playoffs with the seeds and matchups as they currently stand. 

The idea of a play-in tournament has been broached, and commissioner Adam Silver has made it clear he is open to all possibilities. But for now there is no telling what such a format would look like, so we'll stick with the first two scenarios as we outline what the playoff matchups would look like if the regular season ended as is. 

*Championship odds via William Hill Sportsbook

Western Conference

TEAMRECORDMATCHUPTITLE ODDS

1. LAKERS

49-14 (--)

vs. GRIZZLIES

+200

2. CLIPPERS

44-20 (5.5 GB)

vs. MAVERICKS

+300

3. NUGGETS

43-22 (7 GB)

vs. ROCKETS

+2000

4. JAZZ

41-23 (8.5 GB)

vs. THUNDER

+3500

5. THUNDER

40-24 (9.5 GB)

at JAZZ

+10000

6. ROCKETS

40-24 (9.5 GB)

at NUGGETS

+1600

7. MAVERICKS

40-27 (11 GB)

at CLIPPERS

+3500

8. GRIZZLIES

32-33 (18 GB)

at LAKERS

+50000

A few notable things about the current playoff matchups should the regular season ultimately be scrapped: The Lakers and Clippers are on opposite sides of the bracket, meaning they couldn't meet until the conference finals. The Rockets, even though they're only the No. 6 seed, actually have the third-best championship odds of all the Western Conference teams, according to William Hill Sportsbook. 

Should the regular season resume, a lot of this seeding could change quite a bit. Just two games separate the Nos. 3-6 seeds in the loss column, the same amount of distance that stands between the No. 2 Clippers and No. 3 Nuggets. If the full 82-game slate is played out and Denver is given a chance to potentially pass the Clippers, that could put the Lakers and Clippers on a collision course one round earlier 

As for the final spot, Memphis would have no problem seeing the remainder of the regular season canceled, because if it resumes the Grizzlies have the second-toughest remaining schedule and four teams, as you can see below, are well within striking distance for the final Western Conference playoff berth. 

Race for No. 8

TEAMRECORDGB NO. 8 SEEDPLAYOFF PROJECTION

9. BLAZERS

29-37 

4 (In loss column)

14.2%

10. PELICANS

28-36 

3 (In loss column)

24.3%

11. KINGS

28-36

3 (In loss column)

10.7%

12. SPURS

27-36

3 (In loss column)

5.2%

You'll notice the Pelicans have the best odds of all these teams to sneak into the No. 8 spot, largely thanks to having one of the five easiest remaining schedules should regular-season play resume. The Blazers, meanwhile, would likely make for the most dangerous No. 8 seed for the presence of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum alone. Portland went to the conference finals last season and may be in line to get Jusuf Nurkic back into the lineup down the stretch. 

Eastern Conference

TEAMRECORDMATCHUPTITLE ODDS

1. BUCKS

53-12 (--)

vs. MAGIC

+240

2. RAPTORS

46-18 (6.5 GB)

vs. NETS

+1800

3. CELTICS

43-21 (9.5 GB)

vs. 76ERS

+1800

4. HEAT

41-24 (12 GB)

vs. PACERS

+3500

5. PACERS

39-26 (14 GB)

at HEAT

+12500

6. 76ERS

39-26 (14 GB)

at CELTICS

+4000

7. NETS

30-34 (22.5 GB)

at RAPTORS

+5000

8. MAGIC

30-35 (23 GB)

at BUCKS

+150000

Right off the bat, the first-round matchup that jumps off the page is Boston vs. Philadelphia. Both teams believe they can win the conference and potentially the whole thing, and one of them is going to be done in the first round if the regular season is over and these are indeed the playoff matchups. 

For the Sixers, that could well mean Brett Brown is out of a job come next season. The good news, if there is any to be found in this current climate, is this hiatus is giving Ben Simmons, out with a nerve impingement in his back, time to get healthy. If the Bucks were going to the get to the 70-win mark, they'd have to win all 17 of their remaining games, if they get that chance. 

To that point, even if the regular season does resume, the East's eight playoff spots aren't likely to change -- as you'll see in the SportsLine playoff projections in the far right column of the table below. 

Race for No. 8

TEAMRECORDGB NO. 8 SEEDPLAYOFF PROJECTION

9. WIZARDS

24-40

5 (In loss column)

1%

10. HORNETS

23-42

7 (In loss column)

1%

11. BULLS

22-43

8 (In loss column)

1%

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