The battle remains fierce for the final spots in the Western Conference playoff picture. With the Phoenix Suns' huge victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies' blowout loss against the San Antonio Spurs, the Suns are now a full game ahead of the Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed.
The Dallas Mavericks have won three games in a row and are a half-game ahead of Phoenix. Each team will play the other once before the season is out.
The Spurs have the top seed essentially sewn up, while the Thunder are in danger of falling to the No. 3 slot. The Los Angeles Clippers are a game back and the two teams will meet at the Staples Center this week.
Here's the West playoff race (x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division):
|1. y - San Antonio Spurs||60||17||-|
|2. y - Oklahoma City Thunder||55||21||4½|
|3. y - Los Angeles Clippers||55||23||5½|
|4. x - Houston Rockets||51||25||8½|
|5. x - Portland Trail Blazers||50||28||10½|
|6. Golden State Warriors||48||29||12|
|7. Dallas Mavericks||47||31||13½|
|8. Phoenix Suns||46||31||14|
|9. Memphis Grizzlies||45||32||15
In the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks made a valiant run to get back into the playoff conversation, but those postseason hopes are flickering after a worst-case scenario Sunday. After the Knicks lost in Miami, the Atlanta Hawks went into Bankers Life Fieldhouse and demolished the struggling Indiana Pacers.
NBA Power Rankings
NBA Power Rankings
The Knicks are now two games behind the Hawks in the race for the No. 8 seed and will almost certainly lose the conference record tiebreaker. New York has just four games left, and all four are against East playoff teams.
At the top of the East, the Heat moved a full game up on the Pacers and two in the loss column. The Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls are neck-and-neck, with the Raptors currently holding the No. 3 seed by virtue of leading the Atlantic Division.
Here's the East playoff race (x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division):
|1. y - Miami Heat||53||23||-|
|2. y - Indiana Pacers||53||25||1|
|3. x - Toronto Raptors||45||32||8½|
|4. x - Chicago Bulls||45||32||8½|
|5. x - Brooklyn Nets||42||34||11|
|6. x - Washington Wizards||40||37||13½|
|7. x - Charlotte Bobcats||39||38||14½|
|8. Atlanta Hawks||34||42||19|
|9. New York Knicks||33||45||21|