Playoff Update: Pacers move magic number to one
A look at scenarios for Indiana and Miami to secure the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
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.)
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.
Probable opponents: Chicago has control of its down destiny for the No. 3 seed with the Raptors a game behind.
The ideal scenario for Indiana is to secure the No. 1 seed, with Chicago clinching the No. 3 which would then face Miami in the second round. The Pacers would face the winner of a 4-5 Raptors-Nets matchup, and get the Hawks instead of either the Wizards or Bobcats in the first round.
For Miami, they know they can beat Chicago, but it's just exhausting. They might honestly be better off facing the Bulls. I don't put a ton of stock into regular season matchups, but the Nets did sweep Miami this year, and Chicago has won two playoff games in two series in three years against them.
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