NBA Playoff Picture, Magic Numbers: A desert showdown Monday

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

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Results entering Monday's games (April 14):

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

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

Clinched homecourt advantage, first-round: Pacers, Heat, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, Raptors, Bulls

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

Grizzlies: 1

Current matchups -- locked seed in cap:

Eastern Conference

Heat (1) vs. HAWKS (8)

Pacers (2) vs. Bobcats (7)

Raptors (3) vs. Wizards (6)

Bulls (4) vs. Nets (5)

Western Conference

SPURS (1) vs. Grizzlies (8)

Thunder (2) vs. Mavericks (7)

Clippers (3) vs. Warriors (6)

Rockets (4) vs. Trail Blazers (5)

East Nos. 1-2: Heat, Pacers

With the Indiana Pacers' win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, a monster win over a great team, the Pacers have moved their magic number to one over Miami for the No. 1 seed in the East and homecourt advantage throughout the East playoffs.

Why Indiana has tiebreaker: Miami and Indiana finished 2-2 head-to-head this season after Miami's win Friday. But the Pacers' secured tiebreaker by conference record with the Heat's loss to Atlanta Saturday, 37-14 to 34-16. (Miami can only finish with 36 conference wins if they win out.)

Remaining scenarios:

If Indiana defeats Orlando Wednesday, the Pacers clinch the No. 1 seed.

If Indiana loses to Orlando Wednesday, and the Heat defeat Washington Monday and the Sixers Wednesday, Miami clinches the No.1 seed.

If Indiana loses to Orlando, and Miami loses to either Washington, Philadelphia, or both, the Pacers clinch the No. 1 seed.

The only way Miami gets home court throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs is if Indiana loses to Orlando and Miami wins out.

Relevant games Monday: Miami takes on Washington in a must-win for their hopes at the No. 1 seed. Washington's in a more desperate situation, trying to avoid falling back into the seventh spot and risk having to face Miami in the first round.

A Miami loss and that's it. Pacers No. 1, Heat No.2.

East Nos. 3-5: Raptors, Bulls, and Nets (No action Saturday)

Flip flop fantasia, the Raptors are back in front of the Bulls. The Raptors beat the Pistons and the Bulls lost to the Knicks.

Did Chicago toss that one so that they could get the four-seed and potentially face Indiana in the second round? It doesn't seem likely, but these are the kinds of weird late-season losses that make you wonder. New York had nothing left to play for and put the boots to the Bulls.

Either way it moves Toronto's magic number for the three-seed to two.

The Nets won Sunday over the Magic. They've clinched no-worse-than-sixth. Their magic number for the fifth seed is one.

Relevant games Monday: Chicago plays Orlando Monday. They should win that one, but they should have won the game Sunday. Toronto has a back to back in Milwaukee.

A Raps win and Bulls loss and the Raps clich the No.3, Bulls No. 4 .

A Wizards loss and the Nets clinch the No. 5.

East Nos. 6-7: Wizards, Bobcats (No action Sunday)

Both teams won Saturday against terrible teams.

If Washington goes 2-0, the Wizards get sixth.

If Washington goes 1-1, the Bobcats must go 2-0 for sixth.

If the Wizards go 0-2, the Cats must go 1-1 for sixth.

If the Cats go 0-2, the Bobcats clinch the seventh seed.

The Bobcats can't finish higher than sixth after the Nets' win Sunday.

Relevant games Monday: The Wizards get the Heat, who should be in great moods after losing to the Hawks, possibly costing themselves the No.1 seed.

Charlotte faces Atlanta who has nothing left to play for; they can't advance past 8th.

East Nos. 8-9: Hawks, Knicks (No action Sunday)

It's over. The Knicks are eliminated. The Hawks have clinched the eighth seed.

The Hawks finished 2-2 against both Indiana and Miami in the regular season.

The Hawks cannot finish higher than the 8th seed.

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

The Spurs win over Phoenix on Friday clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Thunder's loss to the Pacers Sunday made this interesting. The Clipper still have a very real shot at the 2-seed.

If OKC goes 0-, the Clippers can clinch the two-seed by going 2-0.

If OKC goes 1-1 or 2-0, they clinch the No.2 seed.

Relevant games Monday: The Thunder take on the Pelicans who are missing their five best players. They have absolutely nothing to play for and need to lose every game.

So...

West Nos. 4-6: Rockets, Blazers

Portland got a monster win Sunday by beating the Warriors. The win clinched no-worse than fifth for Portland tied them in the win column with the Rockets.

Relevant games Sunday: Golden State plays Portland. A Portland win clinches no worse than fifth and a matchup with the Rockets for the Blazers.

The loss was just as big for the Warriors. They can't move up and take the fifth now, and they're in a dogfight for not just the sixth, but the seventh spot.

If Houston wins one of their final two games, or if Portland loses their final game, Houston clinches the fourth seed.

If Houston loses its final two games and Portland defeats the Clippers Wednesday, Portland gets homecourt advantage in the first round.

West Nos. 8-9: Warriors, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Suns

Memphis beat the Lakers because the Lakers are awful, so their magic number is down to one. What's crazy is that they control their destiny for the seventh seed and can finish as high as sixth.

If the Warriors finish with a win in either of their two games, they clinch the sixth seed.

If the Warriors go 0-2 and the Mavericks defeat the Grizzlies Wednesday, the Mavericks finish sixth, Warriors seventh.

If the Warriors go 0-2 and the Grizzlies go 2-0, the Grizzlies finish sixth, the Warriors seventh, the Mavericks 8th.

If the Warriors go 0-2 and the Grizzlies beat the Mavericks but lose to the Suns, the Warriors finish sixth, Grizzlies seventh, and Mavericks 8th.

Relevant games Monday: The Warriors play the Timberwolves. Golden State's been struggling lately. It's a back to back against a pretty good team. Huge game for them to get back on track.

Phoenix and Memphis face off in the desert, with a playoff berth on the line. Memphis can still win a playoff spot Wednesday if they lose Monday. For the Suns, however, this is their entire season. It comes down to this game. It's an actual, literal, must-win.

Memphis and Phoenix face off in a huge game Monday.   (USATSI)
Memphis and Phoenix face off in a huge game Monday. (USATSI)

 
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