A look at where things stand in the NBA playoff picture, with seven days remaining in the regular season:
- The field of eight is set. And now, it's all about the seeding.
- Toronto is on the brink of being No. 1, and Milwaukee cannot fall past No. 8.
- The Raptors — who were starting to look a little shaky — beat Boston in a matchup of the Eastern Conference's two top teams this season. The win lowered Toronto's magic number for clinching the No. 1 seed in the East to one; another Raptors win or Celtics loss will give Toronto home-court advantage for the entirety of the East playoffs.
- Detroit's loss to Philadelphia was the playoff-clincher for Milwaukee, which is making back-to-back playoff trips for the first time since the 2003 and 2004 postseasons. The victory also pulled the 76ers — now winners of 12 straight — even with Cleveland for the third-best record in the East at 48-30, with the Cavaliers holding the tiebreaker there.
- Philadelphia hosts Cleveland on Friday, the second night of a back-to-back for the Cavaliers.
- Miami, playing while Goran Dragic, James Johnson and Dwyane Wade all were held out, rolled to an easy win at Atlanta — and moved past Washington for outright control of the No. 6 spot (along with the Southeast Division lead, if that still matters).
- New Orleans strengthened its hold on a playoff spot with an easy win over Memphis. The Pelicans are only one game ahead of No. 9 Denver — yet also just one game behind No. 4 Utah.
- The West is just a mess, at least in the race for the final five spots.
- San Antonio could have gone to No. 4, but lost on the road in overtime to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs remained in the No. 5 spot, holding a tiebreaker edge over No. 6 Oklahoma City, and just a half-game up on No. 7 Minnesota and the currently eighth-seeded Pelicans.
There are six games on the schedule and each one has playoff implications.
- Golden State at Indiana: Big for the Warriors in their quest to finish with the NBA's second-best record (which would assure home-court advantage if they were to make the NBA Finals). Big for the Pacers if they want to move up to the No. 4 spot before the end of the season; they'll remain fifth in the East when Thursday night ends regardless of the outcome.
- Washington at Cleveland: The Cavaliers will be a half-game ahead of Philadelphia and remain No. 3 in the East with a win, and fall a half-game behind the 76ers and into the No. 4 spot with a loss. The Wizards need to get back on track; they've lost six of eight, but now have John Wall back and still have time to find playoff form.
- Portland at Houston: The Blazers can move closer to locking up No. 3, though they likely won't have Damian Lillard because of a left ankle injury. The Rockets are just looking to ensure they start the playoffs healthy; their No. 1 overall seed is sealed.
- Brooklyn at Milwaukee: The Bucks are part of that three-team tussle for No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 in the East with Washington and Miami.
- L.A. Clippers at Utah: Huge game for both teams. It's about as close to a must-win as can be for the Clippers. A Jazz win keeps coach Quin Snyder's club in the driver's seat for home-court advantage in Round 1.
- Minnesota at Denver: The Nuggets will start the day on the outside looking in — but control their destiny. Timberwolves fans, meanwhile, are sweating it out to see if they'll be getting any playoff games in Minneapolis for the first time since 2004.
First-round matchups if the season ended Wednesday ...
- East: 1-Toronto vs. 8-Milwaukee, 2-Boston vs. 7-Washington, 3-Cleveland vs. 6-Miami, 4-Philadelphia vs. 5-Indiana.
- West: 1-Houston vs. 8-New Orleans, 2-Golden State vs. 7-Minnesota, 3-Portland vs. 6-Oklahoma City, 4-Utah vs. 5-San Antonio.
NOTE OF THE DAY
- A seven-way tie for fourth in the West is still possible, with everyone at 46-36. If that were to happen, one team with that record would get home-court advantage and two teams with that record would miss the playoffs entirely.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
- "They're going to be a tough out in the playoffs." — Detroit's Anthony Tolliver, on surging Philadelphia.
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