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NBA playoff picture and magic number update 4.7.13

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Division champs?   (Getty Images)
Division champs? (Getty Images)

Relevant games Sunday:

New York at Oklahoma City: The Knicks can make their magic number to win the division just one with a win over OKC, and extend their lead over the Pacers for the No.2 seed to multiple games. Oklahoma City can move back into the No.1 position over the Spurs and drop their division magic number to two.

Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers: Well, let's see. The Clippers are looking to clinch their first division title in team history over the Warriors vs. the "big brother" team that's fighting for its playoff life. So yeah, kind of a big game. The Clippers can gain a little ground on Memphis and Denver while dealing a blow to the Lakers' playoff chances. The Lakers need to keep extending the lead over Utah and can make it multiple games with a win and a Utah loss.

Memphis at Sacramento: Basically, Memphis still has a good shot at homecourt, but it has no room for error.

Chicago at Detroit: A loss clinches the Central division for the Pacers. The Bulls can put a clamp down on no-worse than fifth with a win, putting the Hawks in a bind.

Utah at Golden State: The Warriors can clinch a playoff spot with a win. A loss and a Lakers win would send Utah scrambling t catch up for the 8th. Golden State can move two games over Houston for the 6th seed.

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 Spurs and a 4-game lead over OKC for home court throughout the playoffs. They also have the tiebreaker on both San Antonio and Oklahoma City. They are resting everybody, but LeBron James deigned to grace us with an appearance Saturday in a win over the Sixers to send them packing for the summer.

No. 2/3 seeds:The Knicks moved 2 games ahead of Indiana with the Pacers' awful loss to the Wizards Saturday. Their magic number for the division is still two after Brooklyn's win Saturday night. Their magic number for a top-three seed is two.

The Pacers' magic number to win the Central Division is still one after their loss to the Wizards. 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 six. The Nets have a 1 1/2-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 four. The Bulls have clinched a playoff berth. With their win and Atlanta's complete meltdown this week, the Bulls have moved a 1 1/2-games ahead of Atlanta for the fifth and have the tiebreaker. They're 1 1/2-games behind Brooklyn for the fourth seed, and they have tiebreaker there, too. All sorts of tiebreakers for Chicago.

Atlanta has clinched a playoff berth. Their lead on Boston for the 6th seed is two games.

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 behind Atlanta, but they have tiebreaker over Atlanta.

No. 8 seed: Milwaukee finally, mercifully ended the Sixers' playoff hopes Saturday night with a win and Philadelphia's loss to Miami. The Bucks have clinched a playoff berth. They are 2 games back of Boston for the seventh.

Philadelphia is the last Eastern Conference team to be eliminated from playoff contention. We have the eight Eastern Conference teams.

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: San Antonio moved back into the No.1 seed by a half-game over OKC Saturday night with a win over Atlanta, and in doing so, clinched their 19th division title in team history. They can finish no worse than third in the West. The Thunder are a half-game back, but they hold the tiebeaker over the Spurs and control their own destiny. Win out, and the Thunder get the No. 1 seed.

OKC's magic number to clinch the division is three over Denver. The Spurs' magic number for a top-two seed is one.

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 2 1/2-games ahead of the Clippers for third and 1 1/2 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.

The Clippers can clinch their first division title in team history Sunday with a win vs. the Lakers.

Memphis has clinched no worse than fifth.

No. 6 seed: The Warriors are 1 1/2-games ahead of Houston after the Rockets' loss to Denver Saturday. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is two over the Jazz, who they play Sunday. A win over Utah Sunday clinches a playoff spot for Golden State.

No. 7 seed: Houston is 2 1/2-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:

San Antonio Spurs (No. 1 seed) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (8)

Oklahoma City Thunder (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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