This article is part of our In-Season Strategy series.As we head into the final weeks of the NBA regular season, the playoff picture increasingly comes into focus. While some teams are locks to join the 16-team bracket, others are fighting and scraping to climb the standings and into the top eight of their conference, sealing an invite to what's arguably the most exciting postseason in sports.
For the elite teams that have already clinched a berth, there's still a bit of jockeying to be done, as one or two positions can make the difference between an easy walk through the early stages of the bracket, or a decidedly more difficult journey. Several games down the stretch will make or break playoff aspirations for a number of teams, and we'll run down pivotal situations that could well determine who remains when the dust settles.
KEY BUBBLE MATCHUPS IN THE WILD, WILD WEST
Only two games separate fifth through 10th place in the Western Conference, and it will be a fight to the finish to see who
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