Updated 2013-14 NBA Playoff Picture: Sunday, April 13

Jim Cavan@@JPCavanContributor IApril 14, 2014

AP Images

With all eight Eastern Conference playoff teams inked and taken to jockeying for seeding, all eyes turned to the West on Monday night, where the regular season's final three days are poised to please.

With an impressive 102-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Indiana Pacers served notice it might not be wise to give them up for dead quite yet.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors' 116-107 win over the Detroit Pistons, coupled with the New York Knicks' 100-89 upset of the Chicago Bulls, means the East's No. 3 seed switched hands once again.

In the City of Angels, the Memphis Grizzlies held fast to the West's No. 8 seed thanks to a 102-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Portland Trail Blazers survived a ridiculous 119-117 overtime shootout with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors to creep ever closer to the No. 4-seeded Houston Rockets.

Sorry folks, no Bubbas around these parts. So put down your indoor putters and take a gander at our brand new playoff picture—now with 50 percent more beef!

Eastern Conference Standings
TeamWin-LossWinning PercentageGames BackConference Record
New York35-45.43819.524-26


Clinched: Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks


Eliminated from Contention: New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks


If Playoffs Started April 14

Indiana vs. Atlanta (series tied, 2-2)

Miami vs. Charlotte (Miami won, 4-0)

Toronto vs. Washington (Toronto won, 3-1)

Chicago vs. Brooklyn (Chicago won, 2-1)


Western Conference Standings
TeamWin-LossWinning PercentageGames BackConference Record
San Antonio62-18.775-38-12
Oklahoma City58-22.725436-15
L.A. Clippers56-24.700635-15
Golden State49-31.6131329-21
New Orleans32-48.4003013-37
L.A. Lakers25-55.3133713-37


Clinched: San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, L.A. Clippers, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks


Still Fighting for Postseason Berth, per Hollinger's 2013-14 Playoff Odds:

Memphis Grizzlies: 84.5 percent (magic number: 1)

Phoenix Suns: 15.5 percent (magic number: 2)


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


If Playoffs Started April 14

San Antonio vs. Memphis (San Antonio won, 4-0)

Oklahoma City vs. Dallas (Dallas won, 2-1)

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

Houston vs. Portland (Houston won, 3-1)


Monday's NBA Schedule
PhiladelphiaBoston7:00 p.m. ET
TorontoMilwaukee7:00 p.m. ET
WashingtonMiami7:00 p.m. ET
AtlantaCharlotte7:30 p.m. ET
ChicagoOrlando8:00 p.m. ET
HoustonSan Antonio8:00 p.m. ET
New OrleansOklahoma City8:00 p.m. ET
UtahL.A. Lakers9:00 p.m. ET
PhoenixMemphis10:00 p.m. ET
Golden StateMinnesota10:30 p.m. ET

Michael Conroy

Unanswered Questions

1. Are the Pacers back?

How many words have we spent wringing our collective hands over the fate of the Pacers? Ten million? Twenty? Well, here are a few hundred more, beginning with this:

One impressive game does not redemption make.

Yes, Indy looked solid on both sides of the ball in dispatching the Thunder—a team, it must be mentioned, whose playoff seeding is all but secure at this point. But considering where it's been this past month, i.e. scraping the bottom of the statistical bin, we'd be wise to temper our enthusiasm.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to a guy who knows as much about this Pacers team as anyone: the Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz:

So please excuse me today if I'm not proclaiming the heroic return of the First Half Pacers, the group that went 33-7 and 46-13 and made the cover of every magazine this side of Field & Stream. Please excuse me for failing to fully celebrate the Pacers' 102-97 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team, we should point out, that is locked in as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and wasn't playing with any great cause in mind.

At this point, Indy will take any kind of confidence jolt it can get. And you can do far worse in that department than a team picked by many to escape June with a banner in hand. But let's wait and see how the Pacers perform against their first-round opponent—be it the Atlanta Hawks or Charlotte Bobcats—before we go crowning November's champion.

Apr 13, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) passes the ball away from Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Jennings (7) in the second half at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


2. Who wants the East's No. 3 seed more?

Leave it to the New York Knicks to go and mess everything up. Twenty-four hours after being statistically eliminated from the playoffs, Carmelo Anthony and company unfurled one of the franchise's most impressive wins of the season, dispatching the Bulls with relative ease.

The loss slides Chicago back to the No. 4 slot and a prospective date with the Brooklyn Nets, who the Bulls bested in a seven-game first-round series a year ago. The Raptors, meanwhile, regain a tentative hold on the No. 3 seed, which would pit them against the Washington Wizards at No. 6.

To call that a favorable matchup for Toronto would be an understatement: The Raptors are 3-1 against the Wizards thus far this year, and with home court guaranteed, would undoubtedly be considered the favorites to move on to a date with whoever of the Heat and Pacers winds up at No. 2

The calculus is a bit trickier for Chicago: While it is 2-1 against the Nets, the two's most recent meeting (March 3) ended in a 96-80 Brooklyn drubbing. Contrastingly, the Bulls' 96-78 thumping of the Wizards on April 5 was Chicago's only win in three tries against Washington.

Ask Chicago's Taj Gibson, however, who said the Bulls' fight is far less important than the inner dog they bring. From Da Windy City's Carlos Nazario:

Just make sure everyone knows that whatever team is going to play us, you’re going to be in for a long fight. That’s the mentality you’ve got to have. Whatever happens, happens. Forget it. You just got to be ready to go out there and fight. We’re not scared of anybody. That’s our whole mentality. We’re ready for any kind of dogfight.

Apr 13, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts after making a basket against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports


3. Was that Portland-Golden State game kidding?

If Monday's Blazers-Warriors game was part of a new NBA initiative to acclimate our heads and hearts to the demands of what this year's playoffs promise—like some kind of Himalayan training regimen—we'd like to congratulate the league. Because it worked.

Portland would eventually prevail in overtime, 119-117, locking itself into the West's No. 5 seed and a likely date with the Houston Rockets.

The cut was doubly cruel for the Warriors, however, who lost center Andrew Bogut—he was a plus-24 on the night—to a chest injury, the severity of which has yet to be disclosed.

With two games left on their regular-season slate, the Warriors risk slipping into the No. 7 seed with two more losses and a Dallas win. Needless to say, with the Thunder locked in at No. 2, that's a fate Golden State would just as soon avoid.

Portland, meanwhile, grabbed a signature win, the team's fourth straight and eighth in its last nine since LaMarcus Aldridge returned from injury.

Two teams heading in opposite directions? Perhaps. But if this season's stretch has taught us anything, it's that fortunes can and will change in an instant.


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