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NBA

How Tuesday's results impact the playoff picture in the East and West

#Lillard #George #Walker
(NBA Getty Images)

Entering a busy night in the NBA, there were six games with significant playoff implications as the race for seedings continued.

The Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat were fighting to keep their seasons alive, while the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets jostled for positioning in the Western Conference.

Here's how Tuesday's results impacted both conferences...

Eastern Conference playoff picture

The Detroit Pistons move one step closer to securing a berth in the playoffs, rallying from 22 points down to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 100-93.

They cling to the eighth seed, as they turn their focus with a matchup against the New York Knicks in their final game of the regular season, with a victory ensuring they'll return to the playoffs after a two-year absence.

"I'm just happy that we still control our own destiny," Detroit's Reggie Jackson said post-game.

Meanwhile, the Hornets cruised to a 124-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, their fourth in a row, ensuring their race for the eighth seed continues on to the final day of the regular season. They take on the seventh-seed Orlando Magic in a must-win game, but their fate lies in the hands of the Pistons. If the Pistons lose and the Hornets win, Charlotte will claim the eighth seed, given they hold the tie-breaker over Detroit.

Despite beating the Philadelphia 76ers, 122-99, behind a 30-point performance from Dywane Wade in front of the Miami crowd, the Heat were eliminated from playoff contention thanks to Detroit's win over Memphis.

However, the Heat can still impact the playoff picture as they take on the Brooklyn Nets in their final game of the season. If they beat the Nets and the Magic win in Charlotte, Brooklyn and Orlando will trade places in the standings.

Team Record Percentage Games Back
6. Nets* 41-40 .506 19
7. Magic* 41-40 .506 19
8. Pistons 40-41 .494 20
Hornets 39-42 .481 21
Heat 39-42 .481 21

* - Clinched Playoff Berth

Wednesday's games that will decide the seedings

• Magic @ Hornets | 8 p.m. ET

• Pistons @ Knicks | 8 p.m. ET

• Heat @ Nets | 8 p.m. ET

Western Conference playoff picture

The Western Conference remains as wild as ever, with the race for seedings still alive 2 through 8.

Paul George's game-winning 3-pointer against the Rockets put OKC a full game clear of the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, while dashing the Rockets' hopes of finishing with the No. 2 seed.

The Thunder take on the Milwaukee Bucks on the final day of the regular season, who will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. A win against the Bucks will seal the sixth seed and avoid a first-round matchup with the Golden State Warriors, however the Spurs and Clippers still have a chance to move into the 6th and 7th seeds with wins and an OKC loss.

The Clippers face a tough task against the fifth-seed Utah Jazz, who have locked up the No. 5 seed, while the Spurs take on the Dallas Mavericks in Dirk Nowitzki's final game.

Denver's loss to the Utah Jazz creates a three-way race in the top four, with the Rockets, Nuggets and Blazers all fighting for position.

If the Nuggets lose to the Timberwolves, the Rockets will go second, however a win for the Nuggets and a Trail Blazers victory over the Sacramento Kings will slide the Rockets down to fourth.

Team Record Percentage Games Back
1. Warriors* 57-24 .704 -
2. Nuggets* 53-28 .654 4
3. Rockets* 53-29 .646 4.5
4. Trail Blazers* 52-29 .642 5
5. Jazz* 50-31 .617 7
6. Thunder* 48-33 .593 9
7. Spurs* 47-34 .580 10
8. Clippers* 47-34 .580 10

* - Clinched Playoff Berth

Wednesday's games that will decide the seedings

• Mavericks @ Spurs | 8 p.m. ET

• Thunder @ Bucks | 8 p.m. ET

• Jazz @ Clippers | 10:30 p.m. ET

• Timberwolves @ Nuggets | 10:30 p.m. ET

• Kings @ Blazers | 10:30 p.m. ET

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