Things got very interesting at the top of the Eastern Conference on Monday night, as the Celtics took over the top spot from the Cavaliers with just one game remaining for both teams. One more win for the Celtics and they clinch the No. 1 seed.
Boston beat the Nets at home, while the Cavs lost to the Heat on the road. Cleveland rested LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson in the loss, which perhaps shows how much they care about getting the top seed. If the current standings hold, the Wizards would likely meet the Celtics in the second round and not the defending champs.
The Heat beating the Cavs keeps them alive in the playoff race, though the Bulls also won to maintain the eighth and final spot. Chicago is one win away from sealing a playoff berth and up next for them is the Nets. The Heat have to rest their hopes on the Nets, which is not ideal.
The Bucks and Pacers also won. Milwaukee can now finish no lower than sixth, while the Pacers remain a game ahead of the eighth-place Bulls and ninth-place Heat.
In the West where the only thing to sort out is homecourt advantage between the Clippers and Jazz in the 4-5 series, both L.A. and Utah won. The Clippers are now just one win or one Jazz loss away from clinching the fourth seed.
Here is what we know:
- the Cavs, Celtics, Raptors, Wizards, Hawks and Bucks have clinched playoff spots. The Pacers and Bulls currently hold the seventh and eight seeds, though they haven't clinched.
- the Wizards are locked into the fourth seed
- the Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Clippers, Jazz, Thunder, Grizzlies and Blazers have clinched playoff spots
- the Warriors will be the No. 1 seed, the Spurs will be No. 2, the Rockets No. 3, the Thunder No. 6, the Grizzlies No. 7 and the Blazers No. 8
Here is what we don't know:
- the last two playoff spots
- which teams will get the 1-3 and 5-8 seeds
- whether the Clippers or Jazz will earn the four seed and therefore have home court advantage in their 4-5 series
Here is what the playoff picture looks like currently:
2017 NBA PLAYOFFS BRACKET PROJECTION
Eastern Conference (As of Tuesday morning 4/10):
No. 1 Boston Celtics (52-29) vs. No. 8 Chicago Bulls (40-41)
No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers (51-30) vs. No. 7 Indiana Pacers (41-40)
No. 3 Toronto Raptors (50-31) vs. No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks (42-39)
No. 4 Washington Wizards (49-32) vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks (42-38)
Western Conference (As of Tuesday morning 4/10):
No. 1 Golden State Warriors (66-15) vs. No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers (41-40)
No. 2 San Antonio Spurs (61-20) vs. No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies (43-38)
No. 3 Houston Rockets (54-27) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder (46-34)
No. 4 L.A. Clippers (50-31) vs. No. 5 Utah Jazz (50-31)