NBA playoff standings 2014: Hawks leave door open for Knicks, Mavericks looking good

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks' loss to the Pistons gives the Knicks a glimmer of hope, while the Mavs' fourth straight win has them in good shape.

The Atlanta Hawks blew an excellent chance to put another nail in the New York Knicks' coffin, losing to the Detroit Pistons at home on Tuesday night.

The Hawks entered play Tuesday two games ahead of the Knicks and three ahead in the loss column for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but that's down to 1½ games overall and two in the loss column. New York does have a tough closing slate and will likely have to win out or at least go 3-1 to have a chance, but that's not out of the realm of possibility.

Nothing else really changed in the East, although the Miami Heat's loss to the Brooklyn Nets has the Heat just a half-game ahead of the scuffling Indiana Pacers.

Here's a look at the East playoff picture (x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division):

W L GB
1. y - Miami Heat 53 24 -
2. y - Indiana Pacers 53 25 ½
3. x - Toronto Raptors 45 32 8
4. x - Chicago Bulls 45 32 8
5. x - Brooklyn Nets 43 34 10
6. x - Washington Wizards 40 37 13
7. x - Charlotte Bobcats 39 38 14
8. Atlanta Hawks 34 43 19
9. New York Knicks 33 45 20½

Over in the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz handily and now have a one-game cushion over the Phoenix Suns for the No. 7 seed, thanks to a four-game winning streak. The Mavs are two games ahead of the No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies. Those three teams still all have to play each other one more time before the season is over.

Elsewhere, the Houston Rockets solidified their position as the No. 4 seed with a blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets are 2½ games ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The top-seeded San Antonio Spurs lost and the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder won, but there's still a 3½-game difference between the two teams.

Here's a look at the West playoff picture (x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division):

W L GB
1. y - San Antonio Spurs 60 18 -
2. y - Oklahoma City Thunder 56 21
3. y - Los Angeles Clippers 55 23 5
4. x - Houston Rockets 52 25
5. x - Portland Trail Blazers 50 28 10
6. Golden State Warriors 48 29 11½
7. Dallas Mavericks 48 31 12½
8. Phoenix Suns 46 31 13½
9. Memphis Grizzlies 45 32 14½

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