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NBA Playoff Picture and Magic Numbers 4.4.13

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 2 1/2-game lead on the Spurs for home court throughout the playoffs. They also have the tiebreaker on both San Antonio and Oklahoma City. They are resting everybody.

No. 2/3 seeds: The Knicks moved a half-game ahead of Indiana with their win on Wednesday night over Atlanta. Their magic number for the division is four. Their magic number for a top-four seed is one.

The Pacers' magic number to win the Central Division is just one. Their magic number for a top-four seed is also one.

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

No. 4 seed: Brooklyn's magic number for the 4-seed and home court in the first round is seven. They have a two-game lead over Atlanta and a 2 1/2-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 half-game lead over Chicago.

The Bulls' magic number for no worse than sixth is six. The Bulls have clinched a playoff berth.

No. 7 seed: The Celtics clinched a playoff berth on Wednesday night. They can't win the Atlantic Division, which they did the past five seasons. Their magic number to clinch no worse than seventh is six, and they are two games behind the Bulls for sixth.

No. 8 seed: Milwaukee is 2 1/2 games behind Boston for the seventh seed. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is two, after Philadelphia lost to the Bobcats. No, seriously. The Bobcats.

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 six headed into their game against OKC on Thursday night. So that one's kind of big. Their magic number for the division is two over Memphis. Two wins will also clinch them no worse than second.

No. 2 seed: The Thunder are 1 1/2 games 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 3 1/2 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, but has the tiebreaker.

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 one. 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 two.

No. 7 seed: Houston is three games ahead of the Lakers. Its magic number to clinch a playoff berth is three.

No. 8 seed: OK, so after Utah completely defecated on the bed at home vs. Denver on Wednesday, the Lakers are back in the eighth spot by themselves by a half-game. Dallas is now two games back of Utah but doesn't have the tiebreaker, and that doesn't help much because they're still 2 1/2 behind L.A., which has tiebreaker as well.

The Lakers, for the moment, control their own destiny for the playoffs.

Current matchups:

1. San Antonio Spurs vs. 8. Los Angeles Lakers

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 Thursday:

Chicago at Brooklyn

Mavericks at Nuggets

Spurs at Thunder

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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