As this is being typed, there are five teams with three games of each other for the final three playoff spots in the Western Conference.
It’s not unlikely that two or more of the teams vying for a playoff berth end up with identical records when the final whistle is blown this season. So if that should happen, what is the NBA’s tiebreaker system?
Glad you asked. The first tiebreaker would be head-to-head won-lost percentage, the second would be conference record, the third is the won-lost percentage vs. playoff teams in the West and fourth being the won-lost percentage vs. playoff teams in the Eastern Conference.
If all of those records are the same, then the ultimate tiebreaker would be the total points scored in all games substracted by the total points allowed against all opponents. If the point differential is also the same, then Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson just decide who plays after that.
Ok. The last part was a joke.
Now if more than two teams are tied for the same spot when the season ends, then the same criteria applies as if it was two teams, but when it comes down to won-lost percentage vs. playoff teams from the West or East, the percentage will have to include all teams that were tied for playoff contention.
For example, if the Suns, Rockets and Nuggets all tie for the eighth and final spot and all of their records against each other are identical, then all of the records of the teams eligible for the playoffs would be considered when figuring out the won-lost percentage.
So if all three of those teams end up 35-31 and tied for the eighth spot, then all of their records would be considered when compiling the clubs’ respective won-lost percentages.
If this is all too confusing for you, just keep checking Suns.com’s Playoff Radar to see how the Suns are faring.