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NBA Playoff Picture: Look who's back in first place?

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Indiana is back from the dead. (USATSI)
Indiana is back from the dead. (USATSI)

More NBA: Power Rankings | Expert Picks | Seasons in Review | Playoff Picture

For previous updates, click here.

Results entering Thursday's games (April 10):

Clinched playoff berth: Pacers, Heat, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Raptors, Bulls,Nets, Wizards, Rockets, Bobcats,Trail Blazers

Clinched division title, top-four seed: Pacers, Heat, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder

Magic Numbers (combined wins and losses with closest non-qualifying team) for playoff berth:

Hawks: 2

Warriors: 1

Mavericks: 2

Suns: 4

Magic Numbers for division title:

Raptors: 1

Current matchups:

Eastern Conference

Pacers (1) vs. Hawks (8)

Heat (2) vs. Wizards (7)

Raptors (3) vs. Bobcats (6)

Bulls (4) vs. Nets (5)

Western Conference

Spurs (1) vs. Suns (8)

Thunder (2) vs. Mavericks (7)

Clippers (3) vs. Warriors (6)

Rockets (4) vs. Trail Blazers (5)

East Nos. 1-2: Heat, Pacers

Don't try and figure out what's going to happen with this. There is no predicting anything. The Heat had the Grizzlies on the ropes and got clocked in the fourth quarter. The Pacers sat their starters, all five of them, and beat Milwaukee on a buzzer beater.

Total. Chaos.

Indiana and Miami face off Friday on South Beach, but this isn't as big a deal as you think it is. Here's why. A Miami win would tie the season series. After that, tiebreaker goes to conference record. The Pacers lead Miami in that category by three games. Miami can't catch Indiana in that category without beating them out in overall record.

Here are the contingencies based on what could happen Friday:

If Indiana wins and goes 3-0, Indiana gets the No.1 seed.

If Indiana wins and goes 2-1, Indiana gets the No. 1 seed.

If Indiana wins and goes 1-2, Miami must go 3-1 to get the No. 1 seed.


If Miami wins and goes 4-0, Miami gets the No.1 seed.

If Miami wins and goes 3-1, Indiana must go 2-1 to get the No. 1 seed.

IF Miami wins and goes 2-2, Indiana must go 1-2 to get the No. 1 seed.

Relevant games Thursday: None.

East Nos. 3-5: Raptors, Bulls, and Nets

Huge night for the Raps on Wednesday. Their magic number going into the night was four, based on tiebreaker. But their win over the Sixers clinched a better division record than Brooklyn. So they gained one on the magic number with the win, one with getting tiebreaker, and then the Magic beat Brooklyn.

So they're magic number for the division is down to one.

The Bulls won to keep pace, and have clinched no-worse than the fifth seed. Their magic number for homecourt in the first round is one.

Relevant games Thursday: None.

East Nos. 6-7: Bobcats, Wizards

Washington suffered a crushing loss in overtime at home to Charlotte. The result? Charlotte moves into a tie and they have tie breaker over the Wizards. It's looking like the Wizards are headed towards another meeting with LeBron James. Meanwhile the Bobcats could wind up against the Raptors. Is that a better matchup than Indiana? That's a toss-up. But they control their own destiny to choose their first-round opponent.

Relevant games Thursday: None..

East Nos. 8-9: Hawks, Knicks

Well, the Hawks screwed around for most of the game, but finally took care of business vs. Boston on the back to back. Magic number for them to clinch a playoff berth and eliminate New York is down to two.

Relevant games Thursday: None.

West Nos. 1-2: Spurs, Thunder, Clippers

OKC got a huge win vs. the Clippers. It pushed LA a game and a half back, and closed the gap on the Spurs to three games. It's probably too late to catch San Antonio (the Spurs' magic number is two), but they did help basically lock up the No. 2 seed. Their magic number for the two is two.

The Clippers still lucked out. The Rockets' loss to Denver closed their magic numer for the three-seed to one.

Relevant games Thursday: San Antonio faces the Mavericks. A win moves their magic number for homecourt to one.

West No. 4: Rockets

The back to back in Denver takes another victim. Houston's 2.5 games back of the Clippers, and on the verge of elimination for anything higher than four. But even after Portland's loss, Houston remains 1.5 games ahead of the Blazers.

Houston's magic number for homecourt in the first round remains two.

Relevant games Thursday: None. West Nos. 5-7: Blazers, Warriors, Mavericks

Portland snuck out a win vs. the Kings on a buzzer beater by Dorrell Wright. They're 1.5 back of Houston and two up on Golden State. Their magic number for the fifth seed is three.

Relevant Games Thursday: Dallas faces San Antonio. A loss puts them into a tie with the Suns for the 7th and a game up on Memphis. They have tiebreaker over both teams so they're probably OK, but they might not want to let this thing get that far.

A win moves the magic number for Dallas to two.

Golden State faces Denver, who will be on a back to back road game. On account of Dallas, Memphis, and Phoenix playing one another, if the Warriors win, they're in.

West Nos. 8-9: Grizzlies, Suns

The Suns took care of business vs. the Pelicans, but instead of gaining ground, everything stayed the same when the Grizzlies pulled the upset vs. the Heat. So Memphis stays a game back of Phoenix, but controls their own destiny since they play Phoenix next week.

Instead of being pushed to the brink, the Grizzlies look ready to make one last run.

Relevant games Thursday: None.

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