NBA playoff picture: Celtics re-enter tie for No. 5, Pacers give up ground for No. 2

Jared Wickerham

The Celtics are closing in on a home playoff series in the first round while the Knicks are a half game from catching the Pacers.

By beating the lowly Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday, the Boston Celtics (36-29) didn't just avenge two of their worst losses of the season. They also pulled into a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks and stayed within striking distance of fourth place and homecourt advantage for their first round playoff series.

For more on the story, visit Celtics Blog or Indy Cornrows

The Celtics now trail the Brooklyn Nets (38-27) by two games for fourth place in the East standings. The Nets play the Hawks at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Indiana Pacers (40-26) lost their second-straight game Saturday, tightening up their hold on second place in the East standings. The New York Knicks (38-25) trail Indiana by just a half game in the standings now. The Knicks travel to Los Angeles to play the Clippers at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Here are the complete Eastern Conference standings:

EASTERN CONFERENCE W L PCT GB HOME ROAD CONF DIV STREAK L10
1 Miami 50 14 0.781 - 30-3 20-11 27-9 10-1 W21 10-0
2 Indiana 40 26 0.606 11 26-8 14-18 26-15 10-2 L2 5-5
3 New York 38 25 0.603 11½ 22-10 16-15 24-13 6-6 L3 5-5
4 Brooklyn 38 27 0.585 12½ 22-13 16-14 28-13 9-4 W1 5-5
5 Chicago 36 29 0.554 14½ 18-14 18-15 26-13 7-6 W1 4-6
6 Boston 36 29 0.554 14½ 24-9 12-20 22-17 7-5 W2 7-3
7 Atlanta 36 29 0.554 14½ 21-11 15-18 21-17 10-5 W2 4-6
8 Milwaukee 32 32 0.500 18 16-16 16-16 21-19 7-8 L3 6-4
Toronto 26 40 0.394 25 17-16 9-24 15-22 3-9 W1 3-7
Philadelphia 25 40 0.385 25½ 19-17 6-23 15-25 7-8 W1 3-7
Washington 23 42 0.354 27½ 18-17 5-25 12-28 5-8 W3 5-5
Detroit 23 45 0.338 29 15-20 8-25 19-21 6-7 L8 1-9
Cleveland 22 44 0.333 29 13-19 9-25 16-22 3-10 L2 4-6
Orlando 18 48 0.273 33 10-25 8-23 8-31 2-9 L2 3-7
Charlotte 14 52 0.212 37 8-24 6-28 11-26 4-8 L2 1-9

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