Each morning we'll update you on the playoff race in both conferences. Not just who is how many games out of what seed, but what the seedings and matchups mean for each team based on what we've seen. For our complete playoff standings, click here. For yesterday's primer, click here.
Chicago (1) vs. Philadelphia (8)
Miami (2) vs. New York (7)
Indiana (3) vs. Orlando (6)
Boston (4) vs. Atlanta (5)
San Antonio (1) vs. Utah (8)
Oklahoma City (2) vs. Dallas (7)
Los Angeles Lakers (3) vs. Denver (6)
Los Angeles Clippers (4) vs. Memphis (5)
*Bold indicates locked seeding/series.
East No.1 and No.2 seeds: Miami's loss to Boston Tuesday cements the No. 1 seed for the Chicago Bulls. Their opponent has yet to be determined but once again Chicago will enjoy homecourt advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
East No. 2 seed: Miami has clinched over the Pacers previously, and sitting their starters Tuesday was a surrender. They're fine with playing New York or Philadelphia, and prioritized the rest for a banged up core of stars. Those are their only options after Wednesday.
East No.3 seed: The Pacers have locked the third seed in the East will face Orlando. The Pacers not only get homecourt advantage, but the weakest opponent in the playoffs with Dwight Howard out for the Magic. If the Magic don't rally for an unlikely struggle, the Pacers are in position to get rested before the second round begins.
East No.4 and No.5 seed: Boston-Atlanta is locked. That's our first confirmed matchup for the 2012 playoffs. An Atlanta win Thursday clinches homecourt advantage for a No.5 seed over a No.4 and confuses everyone. But it's likely. Atlanta faces Dallas at home Thursday.
Boston's starters, held out Tuesday, will get a full week's rest before the playoffs begin.
East No.6 seed: Orlando's win over the mighty Bobcats Wednesday clinches the sixth seed for Orlando. They face Indiana, which wouldn't be a bad matchup if they had their franchise player. As it stands, the odds, they are not so good.
East No.7 seed: The Knicks hold tiebreaker over Philadelphia so their magic number for the seven is two. The Sixers need to go 3-0 if the Knicks go 1-1. The Sixers beat the Bucks Wednesday night, so they need to beat the Pistons on the road and have the Knicks not play anyone and forfeit lose to the Charlotte Bobcats to win the seventh. Coach Doug Collins said he's resting starters, but he did play Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner Wednesday. Indications are that they plan to target Chicago and not Miami, which makes sense. The Sixers lost the season series but wound up with a positive efficiency differential against the Bulls (.5).
East No.8 seed: The Sixers have clinched a playoff spot.
West No.1 seed: The race for the No.1 seed in the West is over, and it belongs to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs' win over Portland gives the Spurs the No.1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. A masterful rush to end the season for San Antonio, and a disappointing end for the Thunder. The Spurs will play Utah in the first round.
West No.2 seed: The Thunder are locked into the West No.2 after the Spurs clinched.
With the bottom of the West looking more and more like the Mavericks and then the Jazz, getting the No.2 might not be that bad. The Mavs are an inconsistent mess and are missing most of the reasons they toppled the Thunder last year, while the Jazz are dynamic and hungry. You know, the kind of team that the Spurs have nightmares about after last year. The Grizzlies were better than this Jazz team, but it's still not a bad land to get the Mavs or Nuggets.
West No.3: The Lakers have clinched the third seed. They have matchup advantages over both Denver and Dallas. They avoided Memphis which was their big concern.
West No.4, and No.5 seeds: The Grizzlies can only climb to the No.4 now. The Clippers' loss to New York sets the Grizzlies up perfectly. A win Thursday over an Orlando team without Dwight Howard and with their seed locked is a quality opponent to clinch homecourt. The Grizzlies control their own detiny.
A win over Orlando gives Memphis the fourth seed and homecourt advantage in the first round. A loss and the Clippers host the Grizzlies this weekend.Memphis beat the Cavs Monday night to get halfway there on their end. Grizzlies-Clippers is locked either way.
West No.6 and No.7 seeds: The Nuggets' magic number is one. With a win over Oklahoma City Wednesday, they'll need a Mavericks' loss to Atlanta or a Nuggets win over Minnesota Thursday to win the seventh. Denver needs to avoid Oklahoma City as much as possible, at least that's what we thought. But Kenneth Faried's ability to match Serge Ibaka could be an interesting wrinkle. Then again, the Thunder without James Harden, who is cleared to play but sat again Wednesday. It's hard to see the Lakers as a much better option for Denver, but that's their probable opponent now.
Utah is eliminated from contention for the seventh due to tiebreakers with the Denver win.
West No. 8: The race for eight is over, we have 16.
Utah's win over Phoenix clinches at least the 8th for the Jazz. The Denver win locks the Jazz into the 8th, due to Dallas' tiebreaker. The Spurs will host the Jazz for game one.