Updated 2013-14 NBA Playoff Picture: Sunday, March 30

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Updated 2013-14 NBA Playoff Picture: Sunday, March 30
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As has been the case for much of the past few weeks, movement in the NBA playoff picture was relegated almost exclusively to the bottom of each conference's standings Sunday night.

With both the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns getting upended on the road (the former with a 105-98 defeat by the Portland Trail Blazers, the latter in a 115-99 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers), the Western Conference playoff picture got even murkier.

Meanwhile in the East, the New York Knicks were able to make up a half-game worth of ground on the Atlanta Hawks by dispatching the reeling Golden State Warriors, 89-84.

Let's take a look at how the playoff picture stacks up after Sunday's action, shall we? We shall.

Eastern Conference Standings
Team Win-Loss Winning Percentage Games Back Conference Record
Indiana 52-22 .703 - 35-11
Miami 50-22 .690 1 29-14
Toronto 42-31 .575 9.5 27-17
Chicago 41-32 .562 10.5 29-16
Brooklyn 39-33 .542 12 22-21
Washington 38-35 .521 13.5 26-16
Charlotte 35-38 .479 16.5 22-21
Atlanta 31-41 .431 20.0 21-21
New York 31-43 .419 21 21-24
Cleveland 23-45 .400 22.5 18-27
Detroit 26-47 .356 25.5 20-24
Boston 23-50 .315 28.5 19-25
Orlando 21-53 .284 31 16-29
Philadelphia 16-57 .219 35.5 11-33
Milwaukee 14-59 .192 37.5 11-33


Clinched: Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards.

Still Fighting for Postseason Berth: (according to Hollinger's 2013-14 Playoff Odds)

Charlotte Bobcats:  99.8 percent

Atlanta Hawks: 88.8 percent  

New York Knicks: 7.0 percent

Cleveland Cavaliers: 4.3 percent

Eliminated from Contention: Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks.

If Playoffs Started Today

Indiana vs. Atlanta (Indiana leads season series 2-1)

Miami vs. Charlotte (Miami won season series 4-0)

Toronto vs. Washington (Toronto won season series 3-1)

Chicago vs. Brooklyn (Chicago leads season series 2-1)

Eric Gay

Western Conference Standings
Team Win-Loss Winning Percentage Games Back Conference Record
San Antonio 57-16 .781 - 34-10
Oklahoma City 54-19 .740 3 31-13
L.A. Clippers 52-22 .703 5.5 31-13
Houston 49-23 .681 7.5 26-18
Portland 48-27 .640 10 25-20
Golden State 45-28 .616 12 25-18
Phoenix 44-30 .595 13.5 24-20
Memphis 43-30 .589 14 24-21
Dallas 44-30 .595 13.5 24-20
Minnesota 36-36 .500 20.5 20-25
New Orleans 32-41 .438 25 13-30
Denver 32-41 .438 25 16-27
Sacramento 25-48 .342 32 12-31
L.A. Lakers 25-48 .342 32 13-30
Utah 23-51 .311 34.5 11-33


Clinched: San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, L.A. Clippers, Houston Rockets.

Still Fighting for Postseason Berth: (according to Hollinger's 2013-14 Playoff Odds)

Portland Trail Blazers: 99.7 percent

Golden State Warriors: 99.6 percent

Memphis Grizzlies: 74.7 percent

Dallas Mavericks: 67.9 percent

Phoenix Suns: 58.0 percent

Eliminated from Contention: Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, L.A. Lakers, Utah Jazz.

If Playoffs Started Today

San Antonio vs. Dallas (San Antonio leads season series 3-0)

Oklahoma City vs. Phoenix (season series tied 1-1)

L.A. Clippers vs. Golden State (season series tied 2-2)

Houston vs. Portland (Houston won season series 3-1)

Monday's Schedule
Home Away Time
Charlotte Bobcats Washington Wizards 7 p.m. ET
Indiana Pacers San Antonio Spurs 7 p.m. ET
Atlanta Hawks Philadelphia 76ers 7:30 p.m. ET
Detroit Pistons Milwaukee Bucks 7:30 p.m. ET
Miami Heat Toronto Raptors 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Bulls Boston Celtics 8 p.m. ET
Minnesota Timberwolves Los Angeles Clippers 8 p.m. ET
New Orleans Pelicans Sacramento Kings 8 p.m. ET
Denver Nuggets Memphis Grizzlies 9 p.m. ET
Utah Jazz New York Knicks 9 p.m. ET


Unanswered Questions

1. Are the Pacers' Problems Beyond Repair?

For the fifth time in their last six games, the Pacers failed to scale the 90-point mark, falling to the long since lottery-bound Cleveland Cavaliers, 90-76.

After showing a palpable sign of life in defeating the Heat 84-83 last Wednesday, Indiana has dropped its last two en route to giving up yet another game to top-seeded Miami in the conference standings.

It's gut-check time for Frank Vogel, who at this point has to be at least partly to blame for his team's recent woes. He's not alone, of course (from Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes, in which David West opines that the Pacers may have "hit rock bottom"):

As is the case with any slide like this, there's no singular cause. The absence of Danny Granger has turned out to be a bigger problem than anticipated, and it's possible Indiana simply doesn't have the locker room chemistry it once did. Plus Roy Hibbert and George have come back to Earth on offense, and the bench has failed to sustain its early-season pace.

The good news that is also terrible news? The Pacers will have a chance to redeem themselves in fine fashion when the blazing-hot San Antonio Spurs—winners of 17 straight and looking every bit the contender of years past—come to town Monday night.

Indy's defense will surely be tested. But it's in its offense, ranked 29th in the league since the beginning of March, per NBA.com (subscription only), that the Pacers must find their second wind.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

2. Can the Knicks Really Pull This Thing Off?

As noted above, Hollinger puts the Knicks' odds of making the playoff nut at a scant 7 percent. That might seem impossible given the contrasting trajectories of the two teams involved, but this is a man of science we're talking about here. The numbers seldom lie.

Basically, it all boils down to strength of schedule. After tomorrow's tilt with the Jazz, New York's last six opponents are all playoff-bound (as of this printing). The Hawks, meanwhile, have five such dates on the docket, but with more games left to play (10).

Question is, how badly does Atlanta really want to make the playoffs? The Hawks have their first-round draft pick. The Knicks? Not so much.

Hollinger doesn't factor that into the equation, albeit for good reason. But it'll be interesting to see what approach Atlanta takes down the stretch.

J.R. Smith certainly seems to grasp the gravity of this very delicate situation.

3. When Will the West's True No. 8 Seed Emerge?

Look, no one wants to play the Spurs right now. But, you know, someone has to.

Not long after the Grizzlies fell in Portland, Phoenix laid down a stinker in Tinseltown but still managed to hold strong to the No. 7 seed, despite being in a statistical dead heat with the Mavericks.

Memphis might be the more alarming case, however: They've now given up 100 or more points in two straight games, after surrendering the century mark only once in the 11 games prior.

Adding to the intrigue, the Grizzlies' final two games will be againstguess whothe Suns and Mavericks.

Strap on your big-people pants, ladies and gentlemen, because it's about to get wild in this here West.

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