Seven of eight first round playoff match-ups set

The NBA playoff field is taking shape and the final day of the regular season will also provide a preview of a first-round match-up.

Wednesday night’s results filled in five of what were the six unknown matchups for Round 1 of the postseason, which starts next week at Walt Disney World.

In the Western Conference: Houston and Oklahoma City will meet in the first round, meaning Rockets guard Russell Westbrook and Thunder guard Chris Paul get the chance to face their former teams.

Chris Paul in action for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Sacramento Kings
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Paul in action for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Sacramento Kings

“It will be interesting,” Paul said. “Two teams that know a lot about each other. We will prepare, get ready and well see what’s what.”

Other West match-ups confirmed on Wednesday include the second-seeded LA Clippers against the No 7 Dallas Mavericks and third seeds the Denver Nuggets against the sixth-seeded Utah Jazz.

In the East, Miami and Indiana will meet in the first round – after the clubs close the regular season on Friday against one another to decide which team will be seeded No 4 and which will be No 5.

Indiana’s win over Houston on Wednesday set what had been the last two unknown series on the East bracket. Third seeds the Boston Celtics will play the sixth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in a meeting between long-time rivals.



Justin Holiday #8 of the Indiana Pacers drives to the basket against Michael Frazier #21 and Jeff Green #32 of the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 12, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.





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Highlights of the regular season seeding game between the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets in Orlando

The Pacers are locked into an East opening series against the Heat – with the potential of those teams playing nine times in a span of 10 games. Miami beat Indiana on Monday night. The teams meet again on Friday then face off in Game 1 to begin a best-of-seven series early next week. That means, for just the second time since 2011, teams that end the regular season against one another will open the postseason against one another. The last time it happened was 2016, when Cleveland faced Detroit.

“It is good to know that we play them,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Just need to figure out what uniform were wearing.” That will be decided on Friday, when home-uniform advantage gets decided.

“We have got to match Miami’s energy,” Indiana’s Edmond Sumner said. “That is a team that is going to play hard for 48 minutes.”

The other East match-ups were known previously – No 1 seeds the Milwaukee Bucks play eighth seeds the Orlando Magic. Defending NBA champions the Toronto Raptors – seeded two – will face the seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets.



Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder grabs a rebound against Meyers Leonard #0 and Solomon Hill #44 of the Miami Heat during the third quarter at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 12, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.





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Highlights of the regular season seeding game between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando

In the West, Houston and Oklahoma City will be in the four-versus-five match-up and Utah will be the No. 6 seed. The Jazz were locked into that slot by the Thunder defeating Miami, and Denver became the No 3 seed when they lost to the Clippers on Wednesday night.

The full list of match-ups will not be known until at least Saturday, when the Western Conference Play-In series begins with the Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs bidding for those two spots.

The winner of that series will take on the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, the only match-up yet to be determined.

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