NBA Western Conference

Latest Warriors, Kings playoff seeding, tiebreaker scenarios

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Things are getting wackier by the day in the NBA's Western Conference.

The scenarios are endless for the Warriors and Kings, along with the New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, who all are either fighting for the No. 6 and final playoff seed or positioning in the NBA's Play-In Tournament (No. 7 to No. 10 seeds).

Currently, the Pelicans (47-32) hold that No. 6 seed, and, in order, the Suns (47-33), Kings (45-34), Lakers (45-35) and Warriors (44-35) trail behind in the play-in picture. But that all could change in a matter of the next four days.

With the exception of the Lakers and Warriors clinching the six seed, and the Suns dropping to the 10 seed -- every other seeding scenario is possible for all five teams.

That means the sixth seed still is fair game for the Kings -- but so is the 10th.

The Warriors are locked in to a play-in spot, but their path from the 10th to the seventh seed isn't out of reach.

Let's start with the Kings, whose path to a guaranteed first-round playoff series is no easy route. If they win their final three games of the season and the Pelicans drop their final three games, Sacramento will rise to the sixth seed.

The Kings' first task at hand will come Thursday night against a team they have yet to beat this season when they host the Pelicans at Golden 1 Center. This matchup has not favored the Kings this season, but never say never.

They then take on Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns on Friday in the second half of a back-to-back. Sacramento won the first two games against Phoenix and then dropped the most recent pair.

Their regular-season finale comes against the lowly Portland Trail Blazers (21-58), who sit in the 14th spot in the West only above the last-place San Antonio Spurs.

After facing Sacramento, New Orleans has Golden State and Los Angeles to close out the season. So, the Kings' hopes of sneaking into that sixth spot aren't impossible, but things will have to go exactly their way to shape out.

But a Kings' loss to the Pelicans and a Warriors' win over the Blazers on Thursday night would have the Kings, Warriors and Lakers all tied at 45-35. Sacramento has the tiebreaker over both. The Lakers and Warriors both would need the Kings to lose two of their final three games and not lose any of their final contests to move past the Kings.

And of course, there's also a scenario where both the Warriors and Lakers win out, the Kings beat the Pelicans and Trail Blazers but lose to the Suns, and the Suns lose to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

If that were to happen, it would be a five-way tie at 47-35 between New Orleans, Sacramento, Golden State Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Based on the first tie-breaker, head-to-head record, the Suns would finish sixth, Warriors seventh, Kings eighth, Pelicans ninth and Lakers tenth.

Phew. You got all that?

And if you're more of a visual learner, like many of us are, here's a glimpse into the final potential outcomes of the season.

Buckle up, basketball fans. The playoffs still are a week away, but the final trio of regular-season games will be must-see TV.

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