NBA Playoff Picture: Heat pass Pacers for East's top seed
The Heat regained control of the No. 1 seed in the East, the Raptors clinched their division and the Knicks are alive!
Results entering Friday's games (April 11):
Clinched playoff berth: Pacers, Heat, San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers , Toronto Raptors , Chicago Bulls , Brooklyn Nets , Washington Wizards , Houston Rockets , Charlotte Hornets , Portland Trail Blazers , Golden State Warriors
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:
Atlanta Hawks : 1
Dallas Mavericks : 1
Memphis Grizzlies : 3
Current matchups -- locked seed in cap:
Heat (1) vs. Hawks (8)
Pacers (2) vs. Bobcats (7)
Bulls (3) vs. Wizards (6)
Raptors (4) vs. Nets (5)
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
Miami got the huge win over the Pacers we documented here. So the Pacers are a half-game back of Miami for the No. 1 seed and home court with two games left to play for Indy and three for Miami. Indiana needs one more win vs. Orlando next Wednesday to clinch tiebreaker if necessary.
Miami plays Atlanta, Washington, and Philadelphia to end the season.
Indiana plays Oklahoma City and Orlando to finish up.
Here are the remaining scenarios.
If Miami finishes 3-0 Miami gets the No.1 seed.
If Miami goes 2-1, Indiana must go 2-0 to get the No. 1 seed.
If Miami goes 1-2, Indiana must go 1-1 to get the No. 1 seed.
Relevant games Saturday: Miami has a back-to-back vs. Atlanta which is looking to clinch a playoff berth. Atlanta's also on a back to back. The Hawks have gone 1-2 against Miami so far this season.
A win puts the Heat's magic number at two.
East Nos. 3-5: Raptors, Bulls, and Nets
With a chance to clinch their first division title since 2007 and eliminate the New York Knicks ... the Raptors choked and lost. But never fear! The Nets lost in uninspired fashion to the Hawks, clinching the Atlantic Division for the Raptors and home court advantage in the first round.
The Bulls came from behind vs. Detroit, which puts them out of reach of Brooklyn, so... Brooklyn can finish no higher than fifth. They'll start the playoffs on the road. The Nets' magic number for the fifth seed is two.
Chicago also went a game up on the Raptors. Chicago's magic number for the third seed is three.
You want to talk about a bad night for the Pacers? Their current playoff road would be tough-as-nails Charlotte, nobody-wants-to-play-them Chicago, and then the two-time defending champion Miami Heat just to get to the Finals.
Relevant games Saturday: None
East Nos. 6-7: Bobcats, Wizards
Flip-flop! The Cats were up on the Boston Celtics in the first half while the Wizards were down to Orlando and it looked like we were headed for the sixth-seed Bobcats but no! Boston comes back to win, as the Wizards do the same, and now the roles are reversed. Washington's magic number for the sixth seed is now three. Of course, the sixth seed now is on track to face Chicago, so, you know, congrats!
Relevant games Saturday: Washington hosts pluckier-than-you-would expect Milwaukee Saturday, with both teams on a back to back. The Wizards need this one, they have Miami on Monday.
East Nos. 8-9: Hawks, Knicks
The Knicks escaped the edge of oblivion once again! New York rallied in Toronto to walk away with the win and keep hope alive. The Hawks won, though, cutting their magic number to one. If the Hawks can beat the Heat, Bobcats, or Milwaukee Bucks , or if the Knicks lose to the Bulls, Nets, or Raptors, Atlanta's in and a long offseason awaits New York.
Relevant games Saturday: The Hawks have Miami, who's plenty motivated now to win out since they can clinch he No. 1 seed. It's a back to back game for Atlanta, so the odds aren't great, but then again, the Hawks and Knicks have won the games they were supposed to lose and lost the ones they should have won.
West Nos. 1-2: Spurs, Thunder, Clippers
The Spurs win over Phoenix clinched homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs for San Anonio.
The Thunder won, so their magic number for the 2-seed is one. The Rockets loss clinched no-worse-than-third for the Clippers.
Relevant games Saturday: The Clippers have a noon ET game against the Sacramento Kings . They have to win out to catch OKC for the two, and the Thunder have to lose out.
West Nos. 4-6: Rockets, Blazers, Warriors
The Rockets let Corey Brewer score 51 points. That happened. They lost. They're in a dogfight now with Portland.
The Blazers won, so they're a half-game back of Houston with a legitimate chance to steal home court which is huge with the Rose Garden effect.
The Rockets can't finish lower than fifth. Portland's magic number for no-worse-than-fifth is one.
The Warriors clinched a playoff berth Friday with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers .
Relevant games Saturday: The Rockets host the New Orleans Pelicans on a back to back. The Pelicans are on a back to back without their five best players. Houston, Dwight Howard or no Dwight Howard, should roll here.
West Nos. 8-9: Suns, Mavericks, Grizzlies
And just like that, it's all different again. For the second time this month, the Suns went from the seventh seed to out of the playoffs in a single night. Memphis pounded the Sixers, while Phoenix lost to San Antonio.
Relevant games Saturday: Now comes the real test. Phoenix, Dallas, and Memphis play one another over a five-day span. If Dallas beats Phoenix, they're in, Dallas clinches a playoff berth. If Phoenix loses, they're not dead, but it's going to get really serious very quickly for them.
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