After the full slate of games last night, there are only three NBA games tonight, but there’s no lack of playoff implications, as all six teams competing have playoff aspirations. Here’s a look at what each game means.
Brooklyn currently holds the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and a win tonight would give them a 2.5 game lead over the Atlanta Hawks and 3.5 game lead over the Bulls for the fourth spot. They would also move to 4.5 games behind the New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division standings and reduce their magic number for home court advantage in the first round to six games.
For the Bulls, a win would move them from the sixth seed to the fifth seed, as they would tie the Hawks in record but hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. They would be 6.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers for the Central Division title, which they have won the last two years. They would also be 1.5 games back for the fourth seed.
A win for the Nuggets would push their lead for the third seed to 2 games over the Los Angeles Clippers and a half game over the Memphis Grizzlies, holding tiebreakers against both of them. Depending on the result of the Oklahoma City Thunder-San Antonio Spurs game, they could also move to within 2.5 games of the Thunder for the Northwest Division title. A loss would put them behind the Grizzlies and Clippers, since the Clippers would hold a division winner tiebreaker against them.
The Mavericks, who currently sit in the tenth spot in the Western Conference, would move to 2 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers and 1.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for the eighth seed in the playoffs. A loss would put them 3 games behind the Lakers and 2.5 behind the Jazz with only seven games to play.
San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder, 9:30, TNT
If the Spurs can pull out the victory in Oklahoma City, they will extend their lead for the top seed in the playoffs to 2 1/2 games, and reduce their magic number for the Southwest Division title over the Grizzlies to 1.
If Oklahoma City wins, San Antonio’s lead will drop to a half game and the Thunder’s magic number for the division title over the Nuggets could be 4 or 3, depending on the result of their game.