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Playoff projections: Most likely and most exciting first-round matchups

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

When the final buzzer sounds Thursday in Toronto after Cavaliers-Raptors, half of the regular season will be in the books.

It's the 615th game on the schedule, and one far more interesting than the 616th game of the season between the Clippers and Kings, which kicks off the second half of the season. The midway point provides a good opportunity to check in on where we stand in terms of April playoff matchups.

Who will first run into the Golden State Warriors' buzz saw? Will the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics end up on the same side of the Eastern Conference bracket? Who snags the eighth and final playoff spots?

Rather than simply taking the current standings and slotting teams accordingly, we'll use ESPN's Basketball Power Index (BPI) to project where teams finish. It's more accurate, as it helps sift through potential regression candidates (hello, Indiana!) while also taking into account remaining strength of schedule. With BPI as our compass, here's where we currently stand.