Tuesday's action brought us closure on one front: we now know which 16 teams will participate in the NBA playoffs. The last thing left to settle over the next two nights: who will be seeding where, playing against whom?
The Utah Jazz claimed the final spot in the derby by beating the Phoenix Suns at home. Both teams deserve high praise for incredibly improbable runs; few, if any, analysts had either team in the playoff mix before the season began. But the two coaches, Ty Corbin and Alvin Gentry, have proved their mettle, and the players, from Steve Nash to Al Jefferson to Gordon Hayward to Marcin Gortat and on and on, have been excellent.
Unfortunately, just one could advance, and Utah won the bid. The Jazz can still finish in the No. 7 spot depending on what the Denver Nuggets do Wednesday (vs. Oklahoma City) and Thursday (vs. Minnesota). Utah's own say in the matter comes against Portland on Thursday. Denver would need to lose both for Utah to have a chance at No. 7.
On the other end, a pair of wins would launch the Nuggets into the No. 6, no matter what the Dallas Mavericks or Jazz do. That seems more likely than a pair of Denver losses, given that neither OKC or Minnesota have any reason to push hard for wins.
Elsewhere in the West, the Atlanta Hawks win over the L.A. Clippers settled the Pacific Division race in the Lakers' favor. The Lakers will go into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed, and we're already dreaming of a second-round series between the Thunder and L.A. (Sorry, first-round opponents.) The Clippers will now definitely face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first-round, but home court advantage remains at stake. L.A. can claim it two ways: a win Wednesday over the New York Knicks, or a Memphis loss to the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
The Hawks' win coupled with the Boston Celtics' J.V. win over the Miami Heat kept the race for home court advantage in the East 4-5 series alive. Boston hasn't exactly been pushing the issue, benching starters in an effort to seek rest over home court, but the Celtics can still claim the advantage in the first round series by beating the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday and watching the Dallas Mavericks beat the Hawks. Atlanta simply needs the opposite of either one of those results to happen.
After all of that, while we know our 16 teams, we only have two confirmed first-round series -- Celtics-Hawks and Clippers-Grizzlies -- and home court advantage for those remains up in the air. So we still have some jockeying left to do. For a rundown on Wednesday's stakes, check out Enormous Consequences on SBNation.com/NBA at noon ET.