NBA

Updated 2013-14 NBA Playoff Picture: Monday, April 14

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Joe FlynnContributor IApril 15, 2014

Truly, the basketball gods are cruel.

The Phoenix Suns had become everyone's "second team" over the course of the 2013-14 season, winning scores of fans with their exciting, team-oriented brand of basketball.

But the dream season came to an end on Monday night, as Phoenix lost a heartbreaker to the Memphis Grizzlies, 97-91.

With the win, Memphis punched the final ticket to the NBA postseason. The final 16 is set; we just don't know exactly who will face whom.

The playoff picture cleared up further on Monday, as the Indiana Pacers officially clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference. They will face the Atlanta Hawks.

In the West, the Houston Rockets clinch home-court advantage for their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, while the Golden State Warriors slotted themselves into the No. 6 seed with a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Let's get caught up on all the ramifications of what went down on Monday night.

 

Eastern Conference Standings
TeamWin-LossWinning PercentageGames BackConference Record
Indiana55-26.679-37-14
Miami54-27.667134-17
Toronto48-33.593732-19
Chicago48-33.593735-16
Brooklyn44-36.55010.526-24
Washington43-38.5311232-19
Charlotte42-39.5191329-22
Atlanta37-44.4571827-24
New York35-45.43819.524-26
Cleveland32-49.3952320-31
Detroit29-52.3582623-29
Boston25-56.3093021-30
Orlando23-58.2843217-34
Philadelphia18-63.2223713-38
Milwaukee15-66.1854012-39
NBA.com

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 15

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 Antonio62-19.765-38-13
Oklahoma City58-23.716436-16
L.A. Clippers56-24.7005.535-15
Houston54-27.667831-20
Portland53-28.655930-21
Golden State50-31.6171230-21
Dallas49-32.6051329-22
Memphis49-32.6051328-23
Phoenix47-34.5801527-24
Minnesota40-41.4942223-28
Denver36-44.45025.520-30
New Orleans33-48.4072914-37
Sacramento28-53.3463415-36
L.A. Lakers26-55.3213614-37
Utah24-56.3003812-39
NBA.com

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

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

 

If Playoffs Started April 15

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)

 

Tuesday's NBA Schedule
HomeAwayTime
Brooklyn NetsNew York Knicks8:00 pm ET
Los Angeles ClippersDenver Nuggets10:30 pm ET
NBA.com

Unanswered Questions

1. Will Andrew Bogut's injury sink the Warriors?

The Golden State Warriors are on course to play the Los Angeles Clippers in what looks to be the most exciting of all the first-round series. Both teams are thrilling to watch, have star power to burn and absolutely hate one another.

But a tragic piece of injury news on Monday took some serious luster off that potential matchup. Per the Warriors' official Twitter account:

While Steph Curry has garnered most of the spotlight this season, Golden State has won games primarily with defense. Per Basketball-Reference.com, the Warriors came into Monday ranked third in the NBA in defensive efficiency and 12th in offensive efficiency.

Much of that credit has to go to Bogut, who is the centerpiece of the Warriors D, along with Andre Iguodala. Per Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes:

The big Aussie ranks second in the league in defensive rating this year, just a hair behind leader Joakim Noah, per Basketball-Reference.com. He holds opponents to 45 percent shooting at the rim, per NBA.com, a figure better than Noah, better than Dwight Howard, better than Anthony Davis...well, you get the idea.

In fact, there are three interior defenders in the entire league who force lower field-goal percentages at close range than Bogut: Roy HibbertSerge Ibaka and Robin Lopez, per NBA.com.

His absence would put Golden State at a serious disadvantage against the Clippers' dynamic frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

There is very little chance of Bogut being ready to play in the postseason, per Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group and Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:

The Warriors' postseason might be over before it begins.

 

2. Is Nene the biggest X-factor in the Eastern Conference?

Now for some happier injury news.

Washington Wizards big man Nene has looked good since returning from a six-week layoff. He played the third game of his comeback on Monday night, scoring 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting in a 114-93 win over the Miami Heat.

The news wasn't all good for Nene, however; he did turn the ball over a team-high five times.

The power forward from Brazil will need to shake off the remaining rust in a hurry, because he is crucial to Washington's chances in the first round.

In his podcast, Grantland's Zach Lowe referred to the Wizards with Nene as a "high-variance team," meaning they have a higher ceiling and a lower floor than, say, the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Wizards already have one of the most dynamic young backcourts in the league with point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal. They need Nene to stabilize the frontcourt alongside Marcin Gortat if they are to have any chance of moving on.

 

3. Will the Mavs and Grizzlies play the matchup game?

The Memphis Grizzlies may be in the playoffs, but they still have some work to do.

Memphis' final game of the season—Wednesday, versus the Dallas Mavericks—will determine the exact first-round matchup for both clubs. The winner will travel to Oklahoma City to the Thunder, while the loser will head to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Talk about "pick your poison." Do you want to face the likely MVP, or the league's best team?

But hold on...there is still a chance that the Los Angeles Clippers could come into play. If the Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday and the Thunder lose to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, the winner of Mavs-Grizzlies would head to Los Angeles.

Both Dallas and Memphis have a unique opportunity to control their destiny. If they think a matchup with the Spurs is preferable, then they can simply rest their players on Wednesday. But if they want to avoid San Antonio at all costs, they can always play their starters for big minutes.

Given the tough road each team has faced just to get to the postseason, however, it is likely that they will prefer to rest.

 

All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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