Posted on: April 14, 2010 6:24 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2010 1:12 am
 

Seeding the Postseason: Scenarios

Going in to the final night of the season, there are still many question marks on the NBA playoff bracket. Here's where we stand: BOLD teams are set in stone... the others have yet to finalize their seeding or playoff berth.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1.  CLEVELAND Cavaliers
2.  ORLANDO Magic
3.  ATLANTA Hawks
4.  BOSTON Celtics

5.  Milwaukee or Miami
6.  Miami or Milwaukee
7.  CHARLOTTE Bobcats
8.  Chicago or Toronto

WESTERN CONFERENCE
1.  LOS ANGELES Lakers
2.  Dallas or Utah
3.  Utah, Dallas or Phoenix
4.  Phoenix or Denver
5.  Denver or Utah
6.  Portland or San Antonio
7.  San Antonio or Portland
8.  OKLAHOMA CITY Thunder


Team-by-Team Scenarios


EASTERN


Miami will be seeded:
•    #5 if Heat wins OR Bucks lose
•    #6 if Heat loses and Bucks win

Milwaukee will be seeded:
•    #5 if Bucks win and Heat loses
•    #6 if Bucks lose OR Heat wins

Chicago will be seeded:
•    #8 if Bulls win OR Raptors lose


Toronto will be seeded:
•    #8 if Raptors win and Bulls lose



WESTERN

Dallas will be seeded:
•    #2 if Mavericks win OR Jazz loses
•    #3 if Mavericks lose and Jazz wins

Utah will be seeded:
•    #2 if Jazz wins and Mavericks lose
•    #3 if Jazz wins and Mavericks win
                      •    #5 if Jazz loses

Phoenix will be seeded:
•    #3 if Suns win
•    #4 if Suns lose

Denver will be seeded:
•    #4 if Jazz loses
•    #5 if Jazz wins

Portland will be seeded:
•    #6 if Blazers win OR Spurs lose
•    #7 if Blazers lose and Spurs win

San Antonio will be seeded:
•    #6 if Spurs win and Blazers lose
•    #7 if Spurs lose OR Blazers win


* Denver wins the Northwest Division if Jazz loses
* Utah wins the Northwest Division if Jazz wins



Posted on: April 14, 2010 3:25 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2010 5:56 pm
 

Playing for the Playoffs: Toronto Raptors


TIME:
08:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Air Canada Centre
Away TV: MSG
       
Even after a five-game skid and with Chris Bosh injured, the Toronto Raptors still have a chance to salvage their season.

The Raptors can secure a playoff spot with a win and some help as they host the New York Knicks on Wednesday night in their season finale.

Toronto (39-42) needs a win over New York (29-52) and a Chicago loss to Charlotte on Wednesday night to secure its third playoff berth in four seasons.

The Raptors trail the Bulls by one game, but hold the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series 2-1. Whichever teams ends up with the Eastern Conference's eighth seed will face league-leading Cleveland in the playoffs.

Without Bosh, Toronto probably wouldn't last long versus the Cavaliers. The power forward will miss his fifth straight game, and his status for the start for the postseason is uncertain after undergoing surgery on his broken nose last week.

The Raptors lost their first four games without Bosh and five in a row overall before beating Detroit 111-97 on Monday night. Toronto had a 1 1/2-game lead over Chicago before its skid.

The Raptors lost starting shooting guard Sonny Weems for the last few minutes after he appeared to hurt his right ankle. He is expected to be a game-time decision.

Weems averaged 19.0 points in three games before being held to six in his last contest. If he can't play, rookie DeMar DeRozan will likely get his 66th start.

DeRozan had 12 points Monday as the Raptors shot 60.0 percent (45 for 75) from the field and 3-point range (9 for 15). Toronto had a season-high 37 assists, getting 23 from point guards Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack after they totaled seven in a 104-88 loss to the Bulls on Sunday night.

"We had a lot of guys trying to do too much and going 1-on-1, so we stressed the importance of trusting your teammates and sharing the ball," coach Jay Triano said.

New York had five players score in double figures as it snapped a three-game losing streak with a 114-103 win over Washington on Monday night.

David Lee had a game-high 26 points in what could have been his last game at Madison Square Garden as a Knick. New York, wrapping up its franchise-worst ninth straight losing season, could free up a total of $32 million in salary cap space if it renounces Lee's rights.

  "I obviously bleed blue and orange and enjoy being here in New York, but there is a business side to this and that's going to take effect once the horn sounds ... in Toronto," he said.

Lee has averaged 25.7 points and 16.6 rebounds in three games against the Raptors this season. Toronto, though, has a chance to sweep the season series for the first time in franchise history.

Weems had 20 points and nine rebounds in the Raptors' 102-96 win over the Knicks on March 5.


Posted on: April 14, 2010 3:01 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2010 3:27 pm
 

Playing for the Playoffs: Chicago Bulls

 
TIME:
08:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Time Warner Cable Arena
Home/Away TV: Comcast-Chicago, FSNCarolina       
  
In the midst of a bizarre off-the-court distraction, the Chicago Bulls are simply focused on winning just one more game.

The Bulls look to secure a second straight playoff berth with a victory in Wednesday night's regular-season finale against a Charlotte Bobcats team that is already locked into the Eastern Conference's seventh seed.

A playoff berth seemed highly unlikely for Chicago as it endured a 10-game losing streak Feb. 27-March 19, but the team has rallied to win nine of 13 since to take a one-game lead over Toronto for the East's final playoff spot.

The Bulls (40-41) will make the playoffs for the fifth time in six years with a victory over the Bobcats, but can also make the postseason if the Raptors, who own the tiebreaker, lose at home to New York on Wednesday.

Chicago pulled ahead of Toronto with an impressive 104-88 victory at Air Canada Centre on Sunday, and followed that up with Tuesday's 101-93 win over Boston. Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich carried the Bulls over the Celtics with Rose scoring a career-high 39 points and Hinrich adding a season-best 30.

Thursday's victory was somewhat overshadowed, though, by some potentially distracting news.

Yahoo! Sports, citing sources, reported executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson shoved coach Vinny Del Negro twice in the chest and had to be restrained in a confrontation over Joakim Noah's minutes after the March 30 home game against Phoenix. Noah was sidelined for the entire 10-game skid because of plantar fasciitis and has seen his playing time increase since his return.

"I'm not going to comment," Del Negro said. "I go about my job everyday no matter what happens. I'm a competitor. I've been involved in the game a long time. I love the challenge of it. All the other things that happen pretty much stay internally."

Noah, who is averaging 13.2 points and 14.3 boards in his last six games, doesn't want to see this become a distraction for the team.

"I don't want to talk about it," Noah said. "Things happen in an organization. ... I don't think it's fair for us as players to be talking about that stuff. It's nothing. Really, it's nothing."

The Bulls have won two of three over the Bobcats this season, but lost the lone meeting in Charlotte, 113-108 on Jan. 5. These teams met just over a week ago, with Chicago winning 96-88 at the United Center on April 3 behind 26 points from Rose and 24 from Hinrich.

Unlike Chicago, the Bobcats (44-37) have little to play for, as they prepare for the first playoff appearance in the franchise's six-year history.

With Charlotte's 105-95 win over New Jersey, coupled with Miami's victory over Philadelphia, the Bobcats were cemented into the No. 7 playoff spot. In the first round of the playoffs this weekend, Charlotte will meet defending conference champion Orlando, which won the season series 3-1.

Although this game means nothing for Charlotte, coach Larry Brown isn't planning on resting his regulars.

"It will be a meaningful game for Chicago, so we're going to have to go out and try to win. It wouldn't be right just to go out and play," Brown told the Bobcats' official Web site. "Hopefully we don't play (the first game of the first round) until Sunday - I don't know what the schedule is, but that would give us the opportunity to rest some people then."

Brown, however, may decide to give forward Gerald Wallace another day off so he can rest his bruised left shoulder for the playoffs.

Wallace, who sat out against the Nets, had 32 points and nine boards in Charlotte's lone win over the Bulls this season.





 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com