The NBA regular season may be winding down, but the postseason race is heating up. From now until the playoffs tip, we'll start taking a closer look at the daily action in the Eastern Conference. More specifically, teams the Washington Wizards are battling for playoff seeding. Check back daily for updates, news and notes pertaining to the Wizards' playoff push...
What you may have missed from last night in the Association:
* No changes in the Wizards' direct scenario seeing as Washington, the Brooklyn Nets and the Charlotte Bobcats all came of Friday as winners. Also no ground gained on the three and four seeds, but overtaking the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls is becoming increasingly doubtful with so few games remaining.
*The loss to Washington combined with Atlanta's win dropped by the New York Knicks outside the ranks of playoff teams, should the season end today, that is. Purely for entertainment purposes - meaning Melo, J.R. and Spike trump anything going on with the Hawks -, let's hope this situation reverses itself.
*Perhaps the most interesting note out of the East last night, even beyond the Heat losing in double-overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves, LeBron James' hat game.
- 1) Miami^ (52-23)
- 2) Indiana^ (53-24)
- 3) Toronto^ (44-32, 8.5 GB)
- 4) Chicago^ (44-32, 8.5 GB)
- 5) Brooklyn^ (41-34, 11.0 GB)
- 6) Washington^ (40-36, 12.5 GB)
- 7) Charlotte (38-38, 14.5 GB)
- 8) Atlanta (33-42, 19.0 GB)
- 9) New York (33-44, 20.0 GB)
- 10) Cleveland (31-46, 22.5 GB)
^ clinched playoff berth
*Miami clinched Southeast Division title, Indiana clinched Central Division title
News and notes that might be of interest for the Wizards: The victory in New York was Washington's 20th road triumph, its most since the 1981-82 season. With a victory Saturday night over the Chicago Bulls, the franchise will have won 40 games in a season for the first time since finishing 43-39 in 2007-08, the last of four straight 40-plus win campaigns. Should the Wizards win out, they would finish 46-36, which would be the best record since 1978-79 when Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and the 54-28 Washington Bullets reached the NBA Finals.
*Bulls @ Wizards: Washington sweeps the season series with a victory and would simultaneously end the Bulls' four-game winning streak.
*Bobcats @ Cavaliers: Only Chicago has a longer winning streak in the East than Charlotte's three in a row. More importantly, Al Jefferson and the Bobcats qualify for the postseason with a win over Cleveland and a Knicks loss Sunday at the Heat.
*Nets @ 76ers: Among the top six teams in the East, only Brooklyn has a losing road record. That should have no impact at Philadelphia, none, zero, zilch.
*Raptors @ Bucks: Toronto has 20 road victories. Milwaukee has 14 victories, period.