The question that no NBA fan will be asking this week is "When's the Playoffs?". The NBA Regular Season is two games and three days away from being over. All eight of the Eastern Conference Playoffs spots have been clinched. (Better luck next year, Chicago.) The seventh and eighth seeds are still up for grabs in the Western Conference for who will get put out by the Spurs and Warriors.
The Atlanta Hawks have two games to secure the third-seed and their second consecutive Southeast division championship. The Hawks will finish the season away from the Phillips Arena, where they have won the last nine out of eleven. Atlanta travels to the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers and wraps up the season in Washington as they take on the Wizards, who have nothing to lose. Depending on if Cleveland rests their starters will determine the outcome of the game tonight in Cleveland. The Hawks have sole possession of the third-seed and a game ahead of Boston and Miami. The Hawks coming off a week where they won all three games beating the Suns, Raptors, and Celtics. The win against Toronto was the first win of the four game series in Demarre Carroll's return from a 41-game absence.
The Race for the Third Seed
The 118-107 win over Boston Saturday night created a little bit of separation between Atlanta and Boston. Boston and Miami are now behind a game at fourth and Charlotte sits a game back from them at sixth in the East Standings. The Boston Celtics control their own destiny playing both the Heat and Hornets at home in their final games. These next three days decide the fate of who will be the three through six seeds. Wednesday's game between the Heat and Celtics could be a preview of the first round of the Playoffs, with the four and five seeds set to face each other.
A list of the last two games for all four teams going for the three seed:
|3. Atlanta Hawks||@ Cleveland||OFF||@ Washington|
|4. Boston Celtics||v. Charlotte||OFF||v. Miami|
|5. Miami Heat||OFF||@ Detroit||@ Boston|
|6. Charlotte Hornets||@ Boson||OFF||v. Orlando|
There are so many scenarios in the final two games that could happen. If Charlotte loses and Miami beats the eighth-seed Detroit Pistons, the Hornets are officially the sixth-seed. If Atlanta loses both and Boston wins both, the Celtics are the sixth seed. A win for Atlanta over the Cavs wraps up the third-seed for the Hawks, if the Celtics lose to Charlotte. You can go on and on about scenarios but it is chaos the next three days for fans of the final four.
The race for seventh and eighth is also a tight race with the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons. They are both tied with 43 wins on the season. The Pacers have a easier final two game than the Pistons with Indiana playing the Knicks and Bucks. The Pistons play Miami and Cleveland to wrap up the season for their first playoff appearance since the '08-'09 season.
The Eastern Conference Playoff Picture
|1. y-Cleveland Cavaliers||56||24||. 700||-|
|2. y-Toronto Raptors||54||26||.675||2|
|3. x-Atlanta Hawks||48||32||.600||8|
|4. x-Boston Celtics||47||33||.587||9|
|5. x-Miami Heat||47||33||.587||9|
|6. x-Charlotte Hornets||46||34||.575||10|
|7. x-Indiana Pacers||43||37||.538||13|
|8. x-Detroit Pistons||43||37||.538||13|