NBA Playoff Picture: Grizzlies clinch, Pacers secure top seed
The Indiana Pacers are the Eastern Conference No.1 and the Memphis Grizzlies are the final playoff team. A look at playoff scenarios.
Results entering Tuesday's games (April 15):
Clinched playoff berth: Pacers, Miami 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 , Atlanta Hawks , Dallas Mavericks , Memphis Grizzlies
Clinched division title, top-four seed: Pacers, Heat, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, Raptors
Clinched home-court advantage, first-round: Pacers, Heat, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, Raptors, Bulls, Rockets
Current matchups (locked seeds in caps):
PACERS (1) vs. HAWKS (8)
HEAT (2) vs. Bobcats (7)
Raptors (3) vs. Wizards (6)
Bulls (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)
EASTERN CONFERENCE RUNDOWN
No. 1: Pacers (LOCKED), No. 2 Heat (LOCKED)
With Washington's blowout of the Heat (with LeBron James and Chris Bosh sitting out for rest before the playoffs), the Indiana Pacers clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. It accomplishes a major goal for the Pacers, who spoke about wanting home court for a possible Eastern Conference Finals against Miami all season.
It comes later than expected after Indiana got off to a fast start. But a swoon starting in early February forced the Pacers to battle Miami for much of March and April for the top seed. After Miami beat the Pacers last Friday to establish control of its own destiny, the Heat lost the next night at Atlanta, handing Indiana the tiebreaker advantage via conference record.
So Indiana plays Atlanta in the first round. If the Pacers advance, it's a probable second-round matchup with the winner of Chicago and Brooklyn (Washington still has a shot at the fifth seed and Chicago still have a shot Wednesday at the 3 seed). Miami is likely to face Charlotte, a tough defensive team which lacks offensive firepower to keep up in a series.
The Pacers seem to have a little momentum coming off their win vs. the Thunder on Sunday. Can they combine that momentum with reaching the 1-seed goal to get back on track in the postseason?
East Nos. 3-5: Raptors, Bulls, and Nets
Raptors and Bulls won, so Toronto's magic number for the 3-seed and a potential matchup with Miami in the second-round is one. A win or Bulls loss Wednesday and Toronto is the 3, Chicago the 4.
The Wizards' win means that if they win on Wednesday and the Nets lose both Tuesday and Wednesday, the Wizards move into the 5-spot and play Chicago. Don't know why they'd do that, but it's possible.
Relevant games Tuesday: Brooklyn faces the New York Knicks and clinches the No. 5 seed with a win, or a win Wednesday over the Cavs and would play Toronto or Chicago in the first round.
East Nos. 6-7: Wizards, Bobcats
Both won Monday, leaving these scenarios: If the Nets win one of their final two games, and the Washington wins Wednesday, the Wizards get sixth.
If the Nets lose their two final games and the Wizards win Wednesday, the Wizards get fifth, the Nets get sixth, and the Bobcats get seventh.
If Washington loses and the Bobcats win, the Nets get fifth, the Bobcats get sixth via tiebreaker and the Wizards get seventh.
If the Bobcats lose, the Wizards clinch no worse than sixth.
The Bobcats can't finish higher than sixth.
Relevant games Tuesday: If the Wizards want the Bulls in the first round,. they're rooting for the Knicks on Tuesday.
East No. 8 Hawks (LOCKED)
The Hawks finished 2-2 against Indiana and Miami in the regular season.
WESTERN CONFERENCE RUNDOWN
West No. 1 Spurs (LOCKED)
The Spurs win over Phoenix on Friday clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
West Nos. 2-3: Thunder, Clippers
The Thunder's loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday made this more interesting. The Clippers still have a very real shot at the 2-seed.
If OKC loses Wednesday, the Clippers can clinch the two-seed by going 2-0.
If OKC wins Wednesday vs. Detroit, or if the Clippers lose to either Denver or the Blazers, the Thunder clinch the No. 2 seed.
Relevant games Tuesday: The Clippers play Denver, which has been in spoiler mode for a few weeks. They've thrown good games at Golden State and other teams. The Clippers need this to keep their hopes of the 2-seed alive.
West No. 4 Rockets (LOCKED), No. 5 Trail Blazers (LOCKED)
The Rockets clinched the No. 4 seed with their win vs. San Antonio, which rested some regulars, on Monday. They have home court in the first round. Game 1 is at Houston this weekend.
West No. 6 Warriors (LOCKED)
The Warriors win vs. Minnesota on Monday clinched the sixth spot. They're locked there and will play either the Clippers or Oklahoma City on the road in Game 1.
West Nos. 7-8 Mavericks, Grizzlies
Memphis beat the Phoenix Suns on Monday, eliminating Phoenix.
The Grizzlies are tied with Dallas at 49-32 and play the Mavs on Wednesday. After Golden State's win, Dallas and Memphis decide Nos. 7-8 on Wednesday.
The winner faces Oklahoma City or the Clippers, with the loser getting the top-seeded Spurs.
Relevant games Tuesday: None.
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