2013 NBA Playoffs Picture, Magic Numbers and Standings; Lakers, Jazz Battle for Eighth Seed; TV Schedule, Live Stream for Tuesday
With only two days left in the NBA regular season, some teams are fighting for playoff position and others are battling just to get in.
There are 17 teams are left standing at the Tuesday mark as the playoffs start on Saturday, but only 16 teams can play for the NBA title this year, meaning that either the L.A. Lakers or the Utah Jazz will be moving on to play for the NBA title; one team goes on, the other goes home.
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In the Western Conference, the Lakers and Jazz have now set things up for a dramatic Wednesday as the Lakers play the No.7 seeded Houston Rockets, while the Jazz take on the No.5 seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
A Jazz loss would automatically put the Lakers in the playoffs, while the Grizzlies need a win and a Rockets loss to make the playoffs. However, the Lakers will have to do it without their superstar Kobe Bryant, whose season ended on Friday after tearing his left Achilles tendon during a game. Added to that, the Rockets, only a game behind the No.6-seeded Golden State Warriors, have incentive to win this game as a victory and a Golden State loss would likely give the Rockets-who own the tie-breaker with Golden State-the No.6 seed.
The third, fourth and fifth seeds are being contested by the Denver Nuggets (56-25), the L.A. Clippers (54-26) and the Memphis Grizzlies (55-26). Currently, Denver has the third seed over the Clippers by 1.5 games with Memphis only a half-game behind the Clippers.
Clippers losses Tuesday or Wednesday mean Denver clinches the third seed. A Clippers win Wednesday with a Grizzlies loss Wednesday would give the Clippers home court advantage against Memphis in the first round of the playoffs, but a Clippers loss and a Grizzlies win on Wednesday would give the Grizzlies home court advantage.
A Nuggets win Wednesday with two Clippers wins Tuesday and Wednesday would seed the Nuggets third, the Clippers fourth and the Grizzlies fifth with the Clippers with home court advantage in their first round meeting with the Grizzlies.
Two Clippers wins Tuesday and Wednesday with a Denver loss seeds Clippers third, the Nuggets fourth and the Grizzlies fifth, pitting Denver against Memphis in the first round of the playoffs.
The Thunder clinched the No.1 seed Monday after beating Sacramento and will face either the Lakers or jazz at the No.8 seed in the first round. The Spurs, the No.2 seed, will face either Golden State, Houston or the Lakers.
In the Eastern Conference, all the seeds are locked in except for the No.5 and 6 seeds, which are being contested between the Chicago Bulls (44-37) and the Atlanta Hawks (44-36). With their loss to Miami on Sunday, Chicago is a game behind in the standing behind Atlanta. The Hawks would clinch with a win on Tuesday and Wednesday with a Bulls loss on Wednesday to clinch the fifth seed.
And while Memphis can't finish higher than fifth, they can get home court advantage if the Clippers lose both games.
For Joakim Noah and the Bulls to take the fifth seed, they need to win on Wednesday and for the Hawks to lose either Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Miami Heat, the Southwest Division champions, clinched the No.1 seed in the East and will play the No.8 Milwaukee Bucks, while the Atlantic Division Champions, the No.2 New York Knicks, who clinched the seed Sunday, will play arch-rival the Boston Celtics, the No.7 seed, in the first round of the playoffs. The No.3 Indiana Pacers, who clinched the Central Division, and the Brooklyn Nets will play either the Bulls or the Hawks in the first round--the Nets to play the No.5 seed and the Pacers to play the sixth seed.
Latinos Post takes a look at some of the big games for Tuesday with potential NBA playoff implications:
Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors
Josh Smith and the Hawks (44-36) take on Rudy Gay's Raptors (32-48) who have won three straight. A win for Atlanta would move them back into a tie with Chicago for the fifth seed. Since Chicago owns the tiebreaker with Atlanta, Atlanta needs to win Tuesday and Wednesday against the Knicks with a Bulls loss to take the No.5 seed.
TV Schedule & Live Stream
Game time starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, 2013 on TNT. Live Stream coverage of the game is available on NBA League Pass (Paid subscription required).
Portland Trail Blazers vs. L.A. Clippers
Led by likely Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, Portland (33-47) can play spoiler for the Clippers (54-26) who are still vying for the No.3 seed with the Denver Nuggets. A loss here would automatically clinch the No.3 seed for the Nuggets. And a win for L.A. would mean they need to beat the Clippers on Wednesday and for the Nuggets to lose to Phoenix to nab the three-seed for the Clippers. So, look for the Clippers' dynamic duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to be at their best.
TV Schedule & Live Stream
Game time starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, 2013 on TNT. Live Stream coverage of the game is available on NBA on TNT Overtime via this link.