2014 NBA playoff standings: Suns reclaim playoff spot during 6-game win streak

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix leapfrogged its way back into the Western Conference playoff discussion.

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Earlier in the week, it was the Dallas Mavericks who had made a play to grab the No. 8 seed back from Phoenix. Now, with the Suns in the middle of a six-game winning streak, they stand a game up on the Mavs in seventh place out West.

Dallas lost, 109-103, to the Clippers on Thursday, pushing Dirk and company further away from the pack. Memphis dropped its game on Friday to the Warriors, which catapulted the Suns ahead of both teams as the scrum at the bottom of the best conference in the NBA starts to get dicey. Memphis is in eighth place at the moment, but that could all change.

The three teams at the bottom -- Phoenix, Memphis and Dallas -- all play each other during the last three games of the season. Depending on how the next week shakes out, we could see the final game of the season deciding who makes the playoffs and who ends up on the outside looking in come the morning of April 17.

Wait, what?

By beating the Grizzlies, Golden State got a tiny amount of breathing room as they rest in the middle of the pack at sixth place, just below the Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors are a game back of Portland and just a game-and-a-half ahead of Phoenix. The Blazers haven't exactly been the measure of stability lately, but with LaMarcus Aldridge back, the Warriors will have a hard time sticking their nose in front of Portland.

Stratification at the top of the West is more abundant, but no clearer. The Clippers and Rockets sit at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, but square off Saturday night in a battle where a win for L.A. could mean solidifying third place, but a loss means swapping positions with Houston.

San Antonio looks to be in firm position atop the conference, in the midst of a 12-game winning streak that has the boys from Texas getting hot at just the right time. Oklahoma City is doing everything it can to catch the Spurs, but unless the Spurs suffer a catastrophic collapse, the Thunder will finish just below them at No. 2.

Here are the full standings out West:

W L GB
San Antonio Spurs 56 16 -
Oklahoma City Thunder 53 19 3
Los Angeles Clippers 51 22
Houston Rockets 49 22
Portland Trail Blazers 47 27 10
Golden State Warriors 45 27 11
Phoenix Suns 44 29 12½
Memphis Grizzlies 43 29 13
Dallas Mavericks 43 30 13½
Minnesota Timberwolves 36 35 19½
New Orleans Pelicans 32 40 24
Denver Nuggets 32 41 24½
Sacramento Kings 25 47 31
Los Angeles Lakers 24 48 32
Utah Jazz 23 50 33½

In the East, Atlanta is trying its hardest to drop out of the playoffs and give the Knicks a playoff spot, but New York does not seem inclined to take it. Both teams lost games this week, keeping the Hawks two games above the Knicks for the final spot in the conference playoff picture.

Toronto reclaimed the No. 3 spot over the Bulls as Chicago dropped a game to the Trail Blazers and the Raptors beat Boston. The rest of the positions in the Eastern Conference feel more settled than things out West, with the Heat and Pacers trading wins and losses to finish out the season a couple of games apart.

The same can be said for the middle of the pack, where Washington sits behind Brooklyn with no foreseeable way to jump ahead for the No. 5 spot. Charlotte is now three games ahead of Atlanta in the No. 7 spot and with games against weaker conference opposition coming up, aren't likely to concede their position to a rival.

Here are the full standings in the East:

W L GB
Indiana Pacers 52 21 -
Miami Heat 49 22 2
Toronto Raptors 41 31 10½
Chicago Bulls 40 32 11½
Brooklyn Nets 38 33 13
Washington Wizards 37 35 14½
Charlotte Bobcats 35 38 17
Atlanta Hawks 31 40 20
New York Knicks 30 43 22
Cleveland Cavaliers 29 45 23½
Detroit Pistons 26 46 25½
Boston Celtics 23 49 28½
Orlando Magic 21 52 31
Philadelphia 76ers 15 57 36½
Milwaukee Bucks 14 58 37½

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