NBA Playoff Picture: Clear The Fog

We are slowly inching toward clarity in the 2012 NBA Playoff Picture. That's a good thing, because the postseason begins on Saturday. There's no time to sort out the mess once the regular season ends, as six lucky teams will have just one day (Friday) to prep for the first round.

On Monday, we set our eight teams in the East bracket and assigned the top two seeds in the West. Check out the developments below the jump.

The Philadelphia 76ers officially clinched their spot with a win over the New Jersey Nets, setting up our eight in the East. So long, Milwaukee Bucks. Sixers coach Doug Collins indicated after the game that his veterans would rest for the team's final two games, which could equate to conceding the No. 7 seed to the New York Knicks. The Knicks and Sixers are currently knotted at 34-30, but New York has the tiebreaker. Facing the No. 1 seed Chicago Bulls may be more appetizing than facing the No. 2 Miami Heat for the Sixers anyway.

The Indiana Pacers quietly beat the Detroit Pistons on Monday, but that team is locked in at No. 3, so it's of no concern.

In the West, the San Antonio Spurs creamed the Portland Trail Blazers by roughly 80 points to clinch the No. 1 seed. That allows Gregg Popovich to rest his veterans even more than usual -- as in completely -- for the team's final two games. The win sends the Oklahoma City Thunder to the No. 2 seed, where they will face the Mavericks, Nuggets or Jazz in the first round.

The Memphis Grizzlies eked out a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to pull within a half-game of the L.A. Clippers for the No. 4 seed and first-round home court advantage. The Clips, of course, still have eyes on the Pacific crown and the No. 3 seed, but need help from the Sacramento Kings (who play the Lakers on Thursday) to get there.

Tuesday features a game of truly Enormous Consequences -- check Scott Schroeder's breakdown at noon ET on SBNation.com/NBA.

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