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NBA playoff picture and magic numbers update 4.13.13

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Relevant Games on Saturday:

Boston at Orlando: A Boston win clinches the seventh seed for the Celtics.

Milwaukee at Charlotte: A Bucks loss clinches the seventh seed for the Celtics.

Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis: A Clippers win moves them into a tie with the Grizzlies, and they have the tiebreaker, meaning they regain control of their own destiny for home court in the first round. It would also move the Clippers within a half-game of the Nugges for the third seed. A Grizzlies win moves them into sole possession of the third seed, moving Denver to fifth (with home-court advantage pending). This thing's going to the distance.

Scenarios:

No. 1 seed: The Miami Heat have clinched a playoff berth, the Southeast Division, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

No. 2/3 seeds: The Knicks are three games ahead of Indiana with three games to play. They have clinched the Atlantic Division and a top-three seed. Their magic number to clinch the No. 2 seed is one.

The Pacers have clinched the Central Division. Their magic number for a top-three seed is one.

Indiana owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over New York in the event of a tie. New York can't get lower than the 3-seed; Indiana cannot finish lower than the fourth.

No. 4 seed: Brooklyn has clinched a top-four seed and home court in the first round after its win and the Bulls' loss on Friday.

No. 5/6 seeds: The Bulls fell back by a half-game on Friday after their loss to Toronto and Atlanta's win over Milwaukee. Atlanta is now in the fifth seed with two games to play, three for Chicago. Chicago controls its own destiny.

The Hawks' win combined with the Celtics' loss to the Heat on Friday means Atlanta can finish no worse than sixth. The Hawks don't control their own destiny for the fifth seed.

No. 7 seed: The Hawks' win combined with the Celtics' loss to the Heat on Friday means the Celtics can finish no higher than seventh. Their magic number to clinch the seventh seed is one. A Knicks-Celtics first-round series seems unavoidable at this point.

No. 8 seed: Milwaukee has clinched a playoff berth, for all the good it will do them. They are three games back of Boston for the seventh. Their dark magic number (number for elimination) to lock them into the eighth and a friendly meeting with the Heat is one. A Boston win or Milwaukee loss locks the Bucks into the eighth seed.

Current matchups:

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

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

Indiana Pacers (3) vs. Chicago Bulls (6)

Brooklyn Nets (4) vs. Atlanta Hawks (5)

Western Conference:

No. 1/2 seeds: The Thunder remained a half-game ahead of San Antonio for first place on Friday. The Thunder clinched the tiebreaker due to conference record over San Antonio (should they need it). The Thunder would not have home-court advantage if they meet the Heat in a Finals rematch.

OKC clinched the Northwest Division on Friday night. They can finish no worse than second. The Spurs also clinched a top-two seed on Friday night and home court throughout the semifinals, should they advance that far.

The Thunder's magic number for the No. 1 seed is three.

No. 3/4/5 seeds: The whole big mess starts with Denver, which has been eliminated from division championship contention. The Nuggets have clinched no worse than fifth over the Warriors. Denver is one game ahead of the Clippers for third, tied with Memphis but remains in the No. 3 spot due to tiebreaker.

Denver holds the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies in terms of wins, but the Clippers hold the tiebreaker having won their division. Denver's magic number for the 3-seed remains three after Memphis and the Clippers' wins on Friday night and Denver' loss.

The Clippers clinched the Pacific Division title, their first division title in franchise history. They 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' magic number for home court in the first round (as a 5-seed) is three. They face the Clippers on Saturday night

Memphis has clinched no worse than fifth.

No. 6 seed: The Warriors have clinched their first playoff berth since 2007. They are a half-game ahead of Houston for the sixth seed. Their magic number for the 6-seed is three. That one could come down to the wire. Their magic number for no worse than seventh is one.

No. 7 seed: Houston has clinched a playoff berth and is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Lakers for the eighth. Their magic number for no worse than seventh is one over the Lakers. They are a half-game behind the Warriors for sixth.

No. 8 seed: The Lakers remain a full game ahead of Utah for the eighth seed after their win Friday over the Warriors. Utah has two games remaining and owns the tiebreaker over the Lakers, who also have two games remaining. The Lakers control their own destiny. A

The Lakers' magic number for the playoffs is two. A win vs. the Spurs on Sunday and a Jazz loss on Monday clinches the eighth seed for the Lakers. Otherwise, this will go down to the last game.

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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