Friday was not a good day for either the New York Knicks or Philadelphia 76ers. Each lost (Philly bad enough that it turned fans mad), and the Boston Celtics picked up a win, putting the C's a game clear of the Sixers in the Atlantic and 3.5 up on New York. The Milwaukee Bucks hover just 1.5 games behind New York for No. 8, the final playoff seed.
Because of Friday's horror, it is of utmost importance that the Knicks and Sixers bounce back on Saturday.
The Sixers draw the Atlanta Hawks, who beat the Knicks on Friday. Atlanta is 7-3 over its last 10, and sits two games clear of Philly in the standings. If the Sixers do concede the Atlantic to Boston in the end, it'd be of primary import to catch up to No. 6 Atlanta and avoid the Miami Heat in the first round. A win on Saturday can get them halfway there.
The Knicks get to host the Cleveland Cavaliers, losers of six straight and nine of their last 10. This should be a win. Should.
Boston is idle, but Milwaukee and Indiana, the other teams in this party, each play. The No. 9 Bucks parlay with the Memphis Grizzlies in Milwaukee, and the No. 5 Pacers visit the San Antonio Spurs. The Pacers have a 1.5-game lead on Boston in the determination of home court advantage in the East's potential 4-5 match-up.
Out West, as noted, the Grizzlies (sole possession of No. 6) and Spurs (well clear at No. 2) are in action. The Lakers (No. 3 by one game) need a win against the Hornets in the afternoon, but the team chasing them -- the No. 4 Clippers -- have a tougher challenge as the hungry No. 9 Utah Jazz visit STAPLES. The Jazz fell out of the bracket with a 1-point home loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday. They are a full game behind the Houston Rockets and Denver Rockets (both idle).
Stunningly, NBA TV will be showing Nets at Kings on Saturday night, not Jazz at Clippers. Yikes!