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What both games Tuesday mean for playoff seedings

Apr 16, 2013, 12:18 PM EDT

Vinny Del Negro, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin AP

It’s a slow night in the NBA, made a little bit slower by the fact the league has rightfully cancelled Indiana’s game in Boston Tuesday night in the wake of the tragedy at the end of the Boston Marathon.

But that game wouldn’t impact the standings — the Pacers are locked in as the three seed in the East, the Celtics are locked in as the seven seed (and will face the Knicks in a fun first round matchup).

But the other two games will have some impact. Here’s the deal:

• Raptors at Hawks (8 p.m. ET): The Hawks are currently the five seed in the East and need to win this game to maintain that spot. Lose and they fall into a tie with the Bulls — and Chicago has the tiebreaker having won the season series so the Hawks become the six seed. Atlanta needs to beat Toronto Tuesday and the Knicks Wednesday to hold on to that five seed (or they need the Bulls to lose to the Wizards on Wednesday).

The five seed team will face the Nets in the first round, the six seed team gets the Pacers.

• Trail Blazers at Clippers (10:30 ET): The Clippers still have a shot at the three seed but they need to win this game, then they need to beat the Kings on Wednesday and they would need Denver to lose on Wednesday at home to the Suns. Bottom line, it’s a long shot but the Nuggets could get the three.

The more likely concern is home court in the first round if the Clippers face the Grizzlies in a rematch of a first round series from last year. If the Clippers win their remaining two games they get home court. If they lose Tuesday to Portland (or to Sacramento Wednesday) then the Grizzlies can secure home court by beating the Jazz on Wednesday.

(And yes, the Clippers can be the four seed and still be the road team in the first round. NBA rules state that because the Clippers won the Pacific Division they can fall no lower than the four seed, but that if the fifth seed team has a better record the five seed gets home court. To answer your next question, I have no idea why. The league should just take the team with the eight best records in order, everybody in the West plays the same schedule anyway. But those are the rules, live with them.)

  1. fventricle - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Why wouldn’t the Hawks want to rest their players and lose the next two games and claim the 6th seed. I’d rather be in 6th and face Indiana than be in the same bracket as the Heat.

    • eventhorizon04 - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      By the same token, the Bulls then should rest their starters and try to keep the 6th seed. They don’t meet the Heat until round 3 if they make it that far, and by then, maybe Noah or Rose (or both) are able to play. That’s important since they’d need both to try to beat Miami.

      Also, a lot of their guys could use a game off to recover and get healthy for the playoffs. However, I don’t think their coach would allow them to intentionally lose their final game…

  2. thenew013 - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    the clippers should have a special rule where their games are an extra 2 quarters b/c i can honestly watch them all day. (also during the commercial break they can only show gamefly, state farm, and kia commercials.)

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