NBA Playoff Picture: East almost set after wild night


Eastern Conference

Another wild night in the NBA, however with only the Mavericks, Clippers, Kings and Nuggets not in action.

The Eastern Conference took massive strides towards confirming playoff match-ups.

East No. 1, No. 2 seeds: Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers
After Miami curb-stomped the Pacers on South Beach last night, the Heat moved into sole possession of the top spot in the East.

East No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 seeds: Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets
The Raptors had the chance to secure a first Division title since 2007 and with it homecourt advantage in the first-round of the playoffs. Instead, they lost to New York and, although Brooklyn lost, Chicago’s win means they take over the three spot and secure their own top-four slot. Chicago has won seven straight and has their destiny in their own hands.

East No. 6, No. 7 seeds: Washington Wizards, Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats wrested control of the sixth seed from the Wizards on the road on Wednesday night before handing it back in an awful road loss to the tanking Boston Celtics. Charlotte holds the tiebreaker but is now one game back in the loss column.

East No. 8 seed: Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks
This is the easiest playoff battle left. With the Hawks impressive win in Brooklyn, their magic number to clinch the eighth seed is one. One more win or Knicks loss will secure their playoff berth, eliminating the Knicks. The Hawks could clinch with a win against Miami tonight.

Western Conference

No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds: San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers
The Spurs victory against Phoenix clinched the number one spot out West and homecourt advantage in the NBA Finals should they progress that far.

Oklahoma City’s win means they need one more win/Clippers loss to clinch the third seed, while Houston’s loss guarantees no worse than third for Los Angeles.

No. 4, No. 5 seeds: Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers had been motoring along on their own in fifth, not close enough to anyone to be worth caring about. With Houston’s late loss in Minnesota, however, they find themselves just half a game back in the race for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

No. 6 seed: Golden State Warriors
Golden State clinched a playoff berth by beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the late game on Friday.

No. 7, No. 8 seed: Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns
Phoenix endured what could prove a terminal loss in San Antonio, a loss that let Memphis leap-frog them into the playoffs. Dallas moves from eighth to seventh without bouncing a ball. Dallas plays both teams: Phoenix on Monday, Memphis on Wednesday, in a playoff play-in tournament.

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