NBA playoff picture and magic number update 4.6.13

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

The magic number for the postseason for Jim Boylan's Bucks is still 2. (USATSI)
The magic number for the postseason for Jim Boylan's Bucks is still 2. (USATSI)

Here's a look at where we are with the playoff picture as of April 6, starting with Saturday's relevant games:

Indiana at Washington: Indiana can clinch its eighth division title in team history Saturday night with a win.

Philadelphia at Miami: The 76ers can move within four games of the Bucks with a win and a Bucks loss to the Raptors. It's unlikely, but I'm not trusting the Bucks right now. But a Bucks win over Toronto and a Sixers loss to Miami clinches a playof berth for the Bucks and eliminates Philadelphia.

Toronto at Milwaukee: See above.

Atlanta at San Antonio: A Spurs win clinches the Spurs 19th division title in team history. A win and a Nuggets loss to Houston clinches a top-two seed for San Antonio.

Houston at Denver: See above for ramifications for San Antonio.

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 3 1/2-game lead on the Thunder and 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 1 1/2 games ahead of Indiana with their win on Friday over Milwaukee, their 11th straight. Their magic number for the division is two after Brooklyn's loss Thursday. A loss by Brooklyn Saturday to Charlotte (hey, it could happen -- OK, probably not) and a win Sunday vs. OKC clinches the division for the Knicks. Their magic number for a top-four seed is two.

The Pacers' magic number to win the Central Division is still one after their loss to OKC Friday night and the Bulls' win over the Magic. Their magic number for a top-three 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 No. 4 seed and home court in the first round is seven. The Nets have a one-game lead over Chicago for the No. 4 seed. Brooklyn has clinched a playoff berth.

No. 5/6 seeds: The Bulls' magic number for no worse than sixth is three, no worse than fifth is five. The Bulls have clinched a playoff berth. With their win and Atlanta's loss, the Bulls have moved a full-game ahead of Atlanta for the fifth and have the tiebreaker. They're just one game behind Brooklyn for the fourth seed, and they have tiebreaker there, too. All sorts of tiebreakers for Chicago.

Atlanta has clinched a playoff berth.

No. 7 seed: The Celtics have clinched a playoff berth. They can't win the Atlantic Division, which they did the past five seasons. Their magic number to clinch no worse than seventh is five, and they are 3 1/2 games behind the Bulls for fifth, but Chicago has the tiebreaker. They're also 2 1/2 behind Atlanta, but they have tiebreaker over Atlanta.

No. 8 seed: Milwaukee is still 2 1/2 games behind Boston for the seventh seed. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is still, amazingly, two, after Philadelphia beat Atlanta on Friday and the Bucks lost to the Knicks. The Bucks do have the tiebreaker and a five-game lead over Philadelphia.

Current matchups:

Miami Heat (No. 1 seed) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (8)

New York Knicks (2) vs. Boston Celtics (7)

Indiana Pacers (3) vs. Atlanta Hawks (6)

Brooklyn Nets (4) vs. Chicago Bulls (5)

Western Conference:

No. 1/2 seeds: The Thunder beat Indiana on Friday, moving them into a tie with San Antonio for the No. 1 seed, and they hold the tiebeaker over the Spurs. Win out, and the Thunder get the No. 1 seed.

OKC's magic number to clinch the division is three over Denver. San Antonio's magic number to clinch the division is now just one after Memphis' loss to the Lakers Friday night. The Spurs' magic number for a top-two seed is two.

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 two games ahead of the Clippers for third and a game ahead of Memphis, and has the tiebreaker.

Denver holds tiebreakers over the Clippers and Grizzlies in 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 one game back of Memphis and two games back of Denver, but thanks to the rules about division leaders, maintain a lead over Memphis for the fourth due to the division-leader/winner 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 after surviving vs. Phoenix Friday. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is one.

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

No. 8 seed: OK, the Lakers' win on Friday kept them a half-game ahead of the Jazz, who also won on Friday. The Lakers do not hold tiebreaker over the Jazz, but do over the Mavericks, who are three games back of the eighth spot.

The Mavericks' dark magic number (for elimination) is a three-game combination of Laker wins or Dallas losses. They have zero margin of error.

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

The Portland Trail Blazers were finally, mercifully eliminated from playoff contention by virtue of the Jazz win Friday night. It's down to just Lakers, Jazz, or Mavericks.

Current matchups:

Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 1 seed) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (8)

San Antonio Spurs (2) vs. Houston Rockets (7)

Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Golden State Warriors (6)

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

 
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