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2017 NBA Playoffs bracket projection: Celtics overtake Cavs for top seed

2017 NBA Playoffs bracket projection: Celtics overtake Cavs for top seed

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.

[RELATED: Charles Barkley: Cav's don't want to play Wizards in the second round]

Here is what we know: 

EAST: 

- 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

WEST:

- 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:

EAST:

- the last two playoff spots

- which teams will get the 1-3 and 5-8 seeds

WEST:

- 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)

[RELATED: Wizards complete biggest turnaround from 2-8 in NBA history]

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Another 40-point game from Bradley Beal not enough as Wizards fall to Jazz

Another 40-point game from Bradley Beal not enough as Wizards fall to Jazz

The Washington Wizards lost to the Utah Jazz 129-119 on Friday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. Only one spot in the standings separates the Wizards from the playoff picture, but it sure doesn't seem like it at the moment.

With their loss to the Jazz on Friday night, the Wizards have dropped four of five coming out of the All-Star break. They have lost nine straight games to the Jazz going back to 2016.

If the Wizards are going to figure it out soon, they will have to do so on the road. Their loss to Utah kicked off a four-game West Coast road swing.

The Wizards are now 21-37 on the season. That puts them on pace for 30 wins.

2. Within the context of this week, 30 points on Wednesday against the Nets qualified as an off-night for Bradley Beal. On Friday, he was back to his early-week form with 42 points, including 23 in the first half alone.

Beal also added 10 assists, five rebounds and two steals. He shot 17-for-33 overall and 6-for-15 from long range.

This was Beal's 10th 40-point game of the year, which is two off the franchise record for a single season. The problem is the Wizards are 1-9 in those games.

This was Beal's 17th straight 25-point game, which is tied for the longest streak ever in Wizards/Bullets history. He tied Walt Bellamy, who set the record in the 1961-62 season.

3. Some day years from now, when Rui Hachimura is asked if he remembers his 'welcome to the NBA' moment, he's probably going to answer with what Donovan Mitchell did to him in the first half on Friday night.

Mitchell threw down one of the more vicious poster dunks you will see, and it all happened in the halfcourt. Mitchell is just a different type of dunker and he got Hachimura at the perfect time with a jump off two feet.

 

On one hand, good for Hachimura for meeting him at the rim. But, man, that was ugly.

4. That moment aside, Hachimura had a solid night in the box score. He poured in 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting and added seven rebounds and three steals.

Hachimura's consistency scoring the ball already as a rookie continues to impress. This was his 35th career game and his 26th with double-figure points and his 18th with 15 points or more.

But also consistent is Hachimura's trajectory as a scorer. It was another game where he started off hot, then cooled down to disappear late.

5. It appears that Troy Brown Jr.'s decrease in minutes on Wednesday was not a one-time thing. He again took a backseat to Jerome Robinson, who played 22 minutes compared to Brown's 18.

Head coach Scott Brooks explained the move on Wednesday by saying "minutes are going to be competitive" now that the team is healthy. Robinson has evidently been showing Brooks more in recent games.

The best guess is that it involves defense. Robinson has been more impressive on that end than he has been on offense. He is a physical perimeter defender and the Wizards can use more of that.

One play in the first half demonstrated that well. He checked Jordan Clarkson at the three-point line and trailed him off the dribble to the baseline where he stuffed him to force a jumpball. It was the type of contest we haven't seen enough of from the Wizards this season.

Brown, though, has a chance to respond and he was more aggressive attacking the rim against the Jazz. That is a good sign.

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Justin Bieber's new No. 1 album features production from ex-Wizard JaVale McGee

Justin Bieber's new No. 1 album features production from ex-Wizard JaVale McGee

Former Wizard Javale McGee has a well-known reputation in the NBA for his emphatic dunks, and his name is cemented in NBA history with two championships. Now McGee can add a No. 1 album to his list of accomplishments.

McGee, who currently is helping the Los Angeles Lakers maintain the best record in the Western Conference, was listed as a contributor on the song "Available" on Justin Bieber's new hit album “Changes.” 

McGee took advantage of constantly being on the road during his career and began networking with major players in the music industry, before meeting Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, one of Bieber's producers in 2013.

"I was in the studio with Poo Bear around November of last year," McGee told the New York Times in an article published Friday. "I didn’t know who I was making music for. I was playing some songs and samples and he stopped on this one sample that I had made. He looped it, put it in the computer and we just started writing to it. We ended up writing the whole song, but there were no drums or anything." 

McGee said a few months later when he was speaking with Boyd, he was notified that he was on the album. 

"It was amazing," McGee said. "Justin Bieber is one of the, if not the, top artists out there. So to be able to keep working and produce something for an artist like that is amazing."

Another slam-dunk.

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