NBA Playoff Picture: Celtics Keep Creeping

The Boston Celtics are not only not dead, but they may even be alive! Check out how their win over the Miami Heat and Tuesday's other NBA results affected the Playoff Picture below the jump.

The Celtics picked up another win over the Heat. Boston still won't be catching Miami in the standings -- it won't even come close -- but the C's are now just one game "behind" the Atlanta Hawks for the conference's fourth best record. The Celtics are the No. 4 seed by virtue of leading the Atlantic Division -- division champs can be seeded no lower than No. 4. But if a No. 5 or No. 6 seed has a better record than their No. 4 or No. 3 seed opponent, the lower seed earns home court. Since Boston took over the Atlantic lead, it had been assumed that they would likely concede first-round home court.

Thanks to Boston's hot streak, that's not so certain. Atlanta's been hot too, winning three straight and seven of 10. But it's a race, no question. And it's a race that will come to a head on Wednesday, as the Hawks will visit the Celtics with "true No. 4" on the line.

The Heat's loss again dropped Miami to three games behind the victorious Chicago Bulls for the No. 1 seed in the East. The Bulls had beaten the New York Knicks, whose lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 8 seed is just one game. The Knicks had been in the No. 7 seed, but their loss and a win by the Philadelphia 76ers reordered the pair. The Sixers have a one-game cushion on New York.

Orlando also lost, slipping to a half-game behind Atlanta. The Magic do have a 3.5-game cushion on Philadelphia.

Just one playoff contender in the West saw action: the Dallas Mavericks won to move a half-game ahead of the Denver Nuggets for the No. 7 spot. The most important number here is 1.5 -- that's how many games over the No. 9 seed Phoenix Suns that Dallas leads.

Be sure to check out Scott Schroeder's Enormous Consequences at noon ET.

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