NBA playoff picture and magic numbers update 4.15.13
The Thunder can clinch No. 1 in the West, the Nuggets can clinch No. 3 and the Lakers can clinch a playoff berth on Monday as we update playoff scenarios.
Relevant Games on Monday:
Chicago at Orlando: A Chicago loss and a Hawks win on Tuesday locks the sixth seed for Bulls.
Denver at Milwaukee: A Denver win clinches home-court advantage in the first round (but not the third seed).
Memphis at Dallas: A Memphis loss locks them into the fifth seed.
Sacramento at Oklahoma City: A Thunder win clinches the No. 1 seed in the West and home-court advantage until the Finals.
Utah at Minnesota: A Jazz loss clinches a playoff berth for the Lakers.
Houston at Phoenix: A Houston win clinches no worse than seventh for the Rockets. A Houston win and a Warriors loss clinches the sixth seed for the Rockets and locks the Warriors into no better than seventh.
San Antonio at Golden State: A Spurs loss clinches the No. 1 seed in the West for the Thunder. A Spurs win and a Thunder loss ties the Spurs with OKC headed into Wednesday (but the Thunder retain the tiebreaker; the Spurs would need another win and an OKC loss on Wednesday to clinch the No. 1 seed). A Warriors loss and a Rockets win locks the Warriors into no better than sixth. A Warriors win and a Rockets loss puts them one game up for sixth with one game to play.
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. They will face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
No. 2 seed: The New York Knicks have clinched the Atlantic Division and the No. 2 seed. They will face the Boston Celtics in the first round.
No. 3 seed: Indiana Pacers has clinched the Central Division and the No. 3 seed. They will face either the Chicago Bulls or Atlanta Hawks in the first round.
No. 4 seed: Brooklyn Nets has clinched the No. 4 seed and home court in the first round.
No. 5/6 seeds: The Chicago Bulls fell back a full game behind Atlanta on Sunday after their loss to Miami. Atlanta Hawks is now in the fifth seed with two games to play for each team. Atlanta controls its destiny for the fifth seed. A Bulls loss on Monday and a Hawks win on Tuesday clinches the fifth seed for Atlanta.
No. 7 seed: The Boston Celtics clinched the No. 7 seed on Saturday with a win over Orlando. They will face the Knicks in the first round.
No. 8 seed: Milwaukee Bucks has been locked into the eighth seed. May God have mercy on their souls.
Matchups (bold indicates locked):
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)
No. 1/2 seeds: The Oklahoma City Thunder moved a full game ahead of the Spurs for the No. 1 seed after San Antonio's loss on Sunday. The Thunder clinched the tiebreaker due to their 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.
The Thunder can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win or a Spurs loss on Monday.
No. 3/4/5 seeds: The whole big mess starts with Denver Nuggets , which has been eliminated from division championship contention. The Nuggets have clinched no worse than fifth over the Warriors. Denver is a full game ahead of the Clippers and Memphis after their win on Sunday.
Denver holds the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies via head-to-head, but the Clippers hold the tiebreaker having won their division. Denver's magic number for the 3-seed is two. Their magic number for home court after the Grizzlies' loss on Saturday is one.
The Los Angeles Clippers clinched the Pacific Division title, their first division title in franchise history. They are one game back of Denver and tied with Memphis 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 begin in Los Angeles.
Memphis Grizzlies has clinched no worse than fifth.
If Denver wins out, it is the third seed.
If Denver and the Clippers win out, Denver is the third seed, the Clippers are the fourth seed, the Grizzlies are the fifth seed and the Clippers have home court. If Denver and the Grizzlies win out and the Clippers lose once, the Nuggets are third, Clippers fourth and Grizzlies fifth, but the Grizzlies have home court.
If Denver loses once and the Clippers and Grizzlies win out, the Clippers are third, the Nuggets are fourth and the Grizzlies are fifth with Denver having home court. If Denver loses once, the Clippers win out, and the Grizzlies lose once, the Clippers are third, the Nuggets are fourth, the Grizzlies are fifth and Denver has home court.
For the Grizzlies to get the No. 3 seed, they must win out, the Nuggets must lose twice and the Clippers must lose once. For the Grizzlies to get home court, they must win out, the Nuggets must lose twice OR the Clippers must lose once.
A Nuggets win or Memphis loss clinches home court for Denver in the first round regardless of seed, and a Nuggets win and Clippers loss clinches the No. 3 seed for Denver.
Complicated enough for you?
No. 6 seed: The Houston Rockets moved into a tie for the sixth seed with their win on Sunday and hold the tiebreaker over the Warriors. A win and a Warriors loss on Monday clnches the sixth seed for the Rockets.
No. 7 seed: The Golden State Warriors found themselves slipping back to the seventh seed on Sunday despite not playing. They no longer control their destiny for the sixth seed. A win on Monday clinches no worse than seventh for the Warriors.
No. 8 seed: The Los Angeles Lakers moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Utah for the eighth seed with their win on Sunday over San Antonio. Utah Jazz has two games remaining and owns the tiebreaker over the Lakers, who have one game remaining. The Lakers control their own destiny.
A Utah loss on Monday clinches a playoff spot for the Lakers. If the Rockets and Warriors lose out, and the Lakers thereby beat the Rockets on Wednesday, evening the season series and regaining tiebreaker advantage ... believe it or not, the Lakers could wind up in sixth. They'll be scoreboard watching big-time on Monday.
Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 1 seed) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (8)
San Antonio Spurs (2) vs. Golden State Warriors (7)
Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Houston Rockets (6)
Los Angeles Clippers (4) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (5; Clippers home-court advantage)
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