The Cleveland Cavaliers became the latest team to bite the proverbial postseason dust, despite a 122-100 drubbing of the Pistons Wednesday night.
When the buzzer sounded in Atlanta Wednesday night with the Hawks beating Boston 105-97, it ended the mathematical line for the Cavs.
So for the final week of the regular season, Atlanta and the Knicks are all that’s left for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. The other seven playoff contestants are already set, with the final order yet to be determined.
So here’s what’s left:
- Atlanta (35-43): What’s left? At Brooklyn Friday, home for the Heat Saturday, home for the Bobcats Monday, at Milwaukee Wednesday.
- New York (33-45): What’s left? At Toronto Friday, home for the Bulls Sunday, at Brooklyn Tuesday and home for the Raptors Wednesday.
Magic Number: 2 for the Hawks. Any combination of Atlanta wins or New York losses that equals two clinches the No. 8 spot for Atlanta. They cannot move up.
Tiebreaker Advantage: Hawks. Teams are tied 2-2 head-to-head, but Atlanta is 25-23 against the East, New York is 22-26. Hawks clinch this tiebreaker with any combination of conference wins by Atlanta or conference losses by New York that equals two.
- Golden State (48-29): What’s left? Home for the Nuggets Thursday, at the L.A. Lakers Friday, at Portland Sunday, home for the Timberwolves Monday and at Denver on Wednesday.
- Dallas (48-31): What’s left? Home for the Spurs Thursday, home for the Suns on Saturday, at Memphis on Wednesday.
- Phoenix (47-31): What’s left? At San Antonio Friday, at Dallas Saturday, home for the Grizzlies Monday, at Sacramento Wednesday.
- Memphis (46-32): What’s left? Home for the 76ers Friday, at the L.A. Lakers Sunday, at Phoenix Monday, home for Dallas on Wednesday.
There are still three key head-to-head matchups left between these teams:
- Saturday, Phoenix at Dallas: The season series is tied 1-1 (Suns won at home Dec. 21 123-108, Mavericks won at Phoenix 110-107 Jan. 17).
- Monday, Memphis at Phoenix: Grizzlies have already won season series 3-0. (Grizzlies won at home 110-91 Dec. 3, at Phoenix 99-91 Jan. 2 and at home 104-99 on Jan. 10).
- Wednesday, Dallas at Memphis: Mavericks have already won season series 3-0. (Mavericks won at home 111-99 Nov. 2, at home 105-91 Dec. 18 and at Memphis 110-96 Feb. 5).
Magic Numbers: 1 for the Warriors, 2 for the Mavericks, 3 for the Suns, 4 for the Grizzlies. Because Memphis still has head-to-head meetings remaining with both Dallas and Phoenix, the Grizzlies still control their own destiny for the postseason.
It beats all 16 places already being decided by now, something that has happened before. So here’s to a fun final week.
And with that, on to the NBA Power Rankings for this week (all statistical information via nba.com/Stats):