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NBA Playoff Picture and Magic Number Updates 4.3.12

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Here's a look at where we are with the playoff picture as of April 2.

Eastern Conference:

No. 1 seed: The Miami Heat have clinched a playoff berth, the Southeast Division, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and own a three-game lead on the Spurs for home court throughout the playoffs. They also have the tiebreaker on both San Antonio and Oklahoma City. So, yeah, they're in a pretty good position. Funny what a 27-game winning streak will do.

No. 2/3 seeds: The Pacers continue their see-saw battle with the Knicks for the 2-seed, with New York moving percentage points ahead of the Pacers after their win at Miami on Tuesday night.

The Pacers' magic number to win the Central Division is just two.

Indiana does have the head-to-head tiebreaker over New York in the event of a tie.

The Knicks' magic number for the Atlantic Division is five over Brooklyn. The Knicks' magic number for a top-four seed is three.

No. 4 seed: Brooklyn's magic number for the 4-seed and home court in the first round is nine. They have a game lead over Atlanta and a two-game lead over Chicago for the 4. Brooklyn has clinched a playoff berth.

No. 5/6 seeds: Atlanta has clinched a playoff berth and has a one-game lead over Chicago.

The Bulls' magic number for no worse than sixth remains seven. The Bulls have clinched a playoff berth. The Bulls fell back a full game behind Atlanta after their loss to the Wizards on Tuesday.

No. 7 seed: The Celtics' magic number to clinch a playoff berth is two: two wins, a win and a loss by Philadelphia or two Philly losses). The Knicks' win on Tuesday eliminated the Celtics from winning the Atlantic Division, something they've done the past five seasons.

No. 8 seed: Milwaukee is 1 1/2 games behind Boston for the seventh seed. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is four.

Current matchups:

1. Miami Heat vs. 8. Milwaukee Bucks

2. New York Knicks vs. 7. Boston Celtics

3. Indiana Pacers vs. 6. Chicago Bulls

4. Brooklyn Nets vs. 5. Atlanta Hawks

Western Conference:

No. 1 seed: The Spurs' magic number to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West is seven with eight games to play. Their magic number for the division is three over Memphis. Three wins will also clinch them no worse than second.

No. 2 seed: The Thunder are a game back of the Spurs for the No. 1 seed in the West. Their magic number for the division is five over Denver.

No. 3/4/5 seeds: The whole big mess starts with Denver, which is four games back in the division. The Nuggets have clinched no worse than fifth over the Warriors. Denver is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers for third and tied with Memphis.

Denver holds tiebreakers over the Clippers and Grizzliesin terms of wins, but the Clippers hold the tiebreaker should they win the division.

The Clippers' magic number for the Pacific Division is two, where it has been for five days. The Clippers are 1 1/2 games back of both Denver and Memphis but, thanks to the rules about division leaders, maintain a lead over Memphis for the fourth due to the tiebreaker.

If the playoffs started today, the 4-5 Clippers-Grizzlies matchup would start in Memphis.

Memphis has clinched no worse than fifth.

No. 6 seed: The Warriors are a game ahead of Houston. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is five.

No. 7 seed: Houston is 2 1/2 games ahead of Utah. Its magic number to clinch a playoff berth is five.

No. 8 seed: The Jazz hold the eighth seed by virtue of a tiebreaker. Utah has the tiebreaker over theLakers and Dallas. This one's likely going the distance.

The Lakers' win over the Mavericks on Tuesday puts Dallas 2 1/2 games back of both Utah and L.A., and both teams have the tiebreaker advantage. So Dallas is effectively 3 1/2 games back with eight games remaining.

Current matchups:

1. San Antonio Spurs vs. 8. Utah Jazz

2. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 7. Houston Rockets

3. Denver Nuggets vs. 6. Golden State Warriors

4. Los Angeles Clippers vs. 5. Memphis Grizzlies (Grizzlies home-court advantage)

Relevant games on Wednesday:

New York at Atlanta

Denver at Utah

Memphis at Portland

New Orleans at Golden State

Phoenix at L.A. Clippers

The Knicks can take sole possession of the second seed with a win. Atlanta can move 1 1/2 games ahead of Chicago.

A Bucks win vs. Minnesota will eliminate the Wizards from playoff contention.

Denver can move 2 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers with a win and a Clippers loss. Memphis can also move 2 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers for home court in the first round. A win by the Clippers and a loss by Golden State clinches the Pacific Division and a top-four seed for the Clippers.

A Utah win and a Blazers loss eliminates the Blazers from playoff contention.

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