The Bulls and Nuggets are moving quickly in opposite directions, and their movements are changing the landscape of the playoff races in each conference. Denver racked up its 14th-straight win and pushed its home record to an impressive 31-3 thanks to an improbable comeback against the Sixers on Thursday night. The Bulls got pounded by the Trail Blazers and dropped their sixth game in the last eight tries, and Tom Thibodeau could barely stand to watch it happen.
In the West, the Nuggets (48-22) clinched a playoff spot and moved ahead of the L.A. Clippers (47-22) by virtue of winning percentage, but not by virtue of seeding -- Denver is still the No. 5 seed and the Clippers are No. 4 thanks to the divisional format. If the Nuggets finish with the better record and land in the fifth spot, they will still have home-court advantage, so the seeding is more of a formality at this point. Then again, Denver is closing in on the No. 3 spot currently held by the Grizzlies (46-21), which should make things very interesting down the stretch.
In the East, the Bulls have descended to sixth and are now tied with the No. 7 Celtics at 36-31. The Bucks are trying desperately to escape the eighth seed and a potential matchup with the Miami Heat, but the Bulls do hold an advantage in the secondary tiebreaker (conference record) that will likely mean the Bucks have to make up more than the two games in the standings. By the same token, the Bulls currently hold the secondary tiebreaker over the Celtics as well, thanks to a 26-13 record against Eastern Conference teams -- compared to 22-18 for the Celtics and 22-20 for the Bucks.
|San Antonio Spurs||68||52-16||.765|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||69||50-19||.725|
|Los Angeles Clippers||69||47-22||.681|
|Golden State Warriors||70||39-31||.557|
|Los Angeles Lakers||69||36-33||.522|
|Portland Trail Blazers||68||32-36||.471|
|New Orleans Hornets||69||23-46||.333|
|New York Knicks||66||40-26||.606|