We received mostly good news Tuesday night in our quest for a 10th consecutive playoff appearance.
Despite being idle, three of the four teams in action around us lost.
Two surging teams, the Hornets and Bulls, were cooled off Tuesday night. Chicago dropped a game in New York, pushing them a game-and-a-half behind us in the standings, though they remain 7th overall. The Hornets, meanwhile, got dealt a big blow to their playoff hopes with a loss in Washington. Charlotte is now two back of the final playoff spot.
The Bucks lost their second straight, as Oklahoma City took care of business at home behind another triple-double from MVP candidate Russell Westbrook. Milwaukee’s lead over us for the 5 seed is now just a half game.
Unfortunately, the one game that could have reduced our magic number to three didn’t go our way, as the Pacers knocked off Toronto in Indianapolis. Indiana’s win moves them into the 8 spot and drops idle Miami into 9th for the moment.
The Wizards’ win coupled with the Raptors’ loss creates a tie for the 3 seed. Toronto holds the tiebreaker.
In the battle for the #1 seed, the Cavaliers handled Orlando, moving them into a tie with Boston for the top spot, which Cleveland owns via tiebreaker. The two teams meet Wednesday night in a critical game that could decide who has home court in the East.
We’re off again Wednesday, but several other games will impact the Eastern Conference playoff race in addition to Cavs vs. Celtics. The Heat travel to Charlotte in what is most certainly a must-win for the Hornets and a game Miami would like to have as well. And Toronto travels to Detroit looking to stay #3. The Pistons are mathematically alive, but barely and probably need to win out.
The Hornets and Pistons aren’t on the chart right now, as both have 42 losses, but both are still alive for the moment. As far as our magic number, a Hornets win Wednesday would reduce it to three.