The Houston Rockets were finally starting to look like a solid playoff team despite long absences for Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. The Utah Jazz were slipping, following the lead of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns. With a win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, Houston would have opened up a two-game lead on Utah.
But the Pacers picked up the overtime win, and the Rockets' lead is just one game. Welp.
Below the jump, we break down all of the playoff impacts of Sunday's results.
EASTERN ARMS RACE
ATLANTIC ARMS RACE
The Magic lost, but remain in the No. 3 spot by a half-game margin over Indiana, who won. Atlanta was idle, and sits a game behind Indiana and a game ahead of Philadelphia. Milwaukee did not play, and remains 2.5 games behind the Knicks.
As of Monday, here's what the East bracket would look like:
Bulls (1) vs. Knicks (8)
Heat (2) vs. Sixers (7)
Magic (3) vs. Hawks (6)
Celtics (4) vs. Pacers (5)*
* Pacers would have home court advantage due to a better record.
WESTERN ARMS RACE
BATTLE OF L.A.
CLIMBING ABOARD THE GOOD SHIP PLAYOFFS
The Nuggets edged the Magic, which allowed Denver to feel more secure in the No. 7 seed as they now sit two games ahead of No. 9 Utah. The Rockets, as described above, had a similar opportunity but lost to Indiana at home. That puts the Rockets in No. 8 by a one-game margin.
CLINGING TO LIFE
The Suns and Blazers each won. Phoenix is only 1.5 games out of No. 8. Portland is three games out. Minnesota lost to Portland, and is 3.5 games out with three teams in the way.
Here's what the West playoffs would look like if the season ended all of a sudden ...