NBA playoff chase ramps up with several teams still in contention and just three weeks left

Don’t forget the NBA.

With much attention on the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the NBA regular season is winding down with playoff spots and seeds at stake in the final three weeks.

Twenty-four of 30 NBA teams are in playoff contention, and while some teams are definitely headed for the playoffs, seeds and playoffs spots are undetermined.

In the East, the top three teams (Milwaukee, Boston and Philadelphia) are separated by 2½ games headed into Monday’s games. Fourth-place Cleveland is 2½ games ahead of New York and one game is between sixth-place Brooklyn and seventh-place Miami.

When it comes to the play-in game scenario in the East, spots 8-12 (Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago, Indiana, Washington) are within three games of each other.

NBA PLAYOFF BRACKET: Updated league standings, odds to make 2023 NBA Finals

SPORTS NEWSLETTER: Sign up to get the latest news and features sent to your inbox

It’s a wild situation in the West, too. First-place Denver has struggled recently but it still has a four-game lead over Sacramento and Memphis, both tied for second place.

Spots 4-12 (Phoenix, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas, Golden State, Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah, New Orleans) are separated by just four games and 6-12 are within two games of each other.

There’s lots of time left to move up and down in the standings.

Let’s take a look at the 15 most important games in the NBA this week:


Minnesota at New York, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

Are the surging Knicks ready to make a playoff run?

Dallas at Memphis, 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV

The Mavs can't wait for injured star Luka Doncic to return to the lineup.


Boston at Sacramento, 10 p.m. ET, NBA TV

The Kings have been the surprise team in the NBA this season.


Golden State at Dallas, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Warriors are in a danger of missing the playoffs after winning the title last season.

Atlanta at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

There are two teams battling for a spot in the play-in games.

Phoenix at Los Angeles Lakers, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN

While both teams can’t afford to lose, the Suns are in better playoff position than the Lakers.


Cleveland at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Nets have remained competitive since trading Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.


Philadelphia at Golden State, 10 p.m. ET, NBA TV

The Sixers are the second-best team in the league record-wise since Jan. 1.

Phoenix at Sacramento, 10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

This is a potential playoff matchup.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo throws down a dunk during the second quarter of a game against the Raptors at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on March 19, 2023.


Brooklyn at Miami, 8 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

One of these teams is likely to secure a playoff spot and one is likely to be in the play-in game scenario.

Milwaukee at Denver, 9 p.m. ET, NBA TV

The Bucks are trying to hold off Philadelphia and Boston for the top seed in the East.

Philadelphia at Phoenix, 10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Suns are awaiting the return of injured star Kevin Durant.

New Orleans at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Pelicans, once at the top of the West standings, are on the outside looking in but with a chance to get in.


Washington at Toronto, 6 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass

The Wizards have work to do if they want to get into the postseason.

Minnesota at Golden State, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Both teams need this game.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA playoffs chase: Basketball's most impactful games this week