We already have the 16 teams who will advance to the playoffs, but we don’t know all the match-ups as there are still a few position battles between some of the teams in both conferences. In the East it’s almost set in stone but from no. 5 down each team has a chance to lose it’s place to the team below them, but the home court advantage for the playoff is set.
In the West things are a bit tighter, with Denver (2), Houston (3), Portland (4) and San Antonio (5) battling it out for positions that mean home court advantage for at least the first round, while New Orleans (6) and Dallas (7) can still exchange places. Utah lost to the Lakers and sealed their fate of meeting Them in the first round of playoffs. Ouch!
We had 3 games last night, 2 in the East and One in the west, so let’s go –
Atlanta Hawks – Miami Heat : 81 – 79
This Preview to their upcoming first round playoff series looked more like a warm up game with both teams giving their key players significant rest time while the subs got most of the spotlight for one night, not with great success. The Heat didn’t even dress Dwayne Wade, Jermaine O’neal and Udonis Haslem. The Hawks let everyone play, but not too much.
Flip Murray led the scoring for the Hawks with 17 points while Michael Beasley was top man for the Heat with 23 points and 13 rebounds, his 8th double-double of the season. The Hawks, besides getting the W were pleased with the return of Marvin Williams who scored 13 points and grabbed 4 boards.
Both teams have on more regular season game, Atlanta with Memphis and Miami with Detroit, and with their positions locked in those games will probably look again like this one.
Philadelphia 76ers – Boston Celtics : 98 – 100
Even without the injured Kevin Garnett and the suspended Ray Allen Boston were able to sneak by the Sixers with a guy named Paul Pierce. Pierce had 31 points and the winning jumper in a game that didn’t mean much for the Celts and more for Philly, who are now in risk of facing the Celts with Allen and probably Garnett in the first round of the playoffs.
Philly were led by Iguodala who had 25 points, 5 boards and 7 assists and were also rejuvenated by the return of Thaddeus Young who was out for 7 games. He scored 18 points but that wasn’t enough to prevent the Sixers 6th straight loss.
L.A. Lakers – Utah Jazz : 125 -112
The Jazz needed to beat the Lakers in the Staples Center to give them chance of avoiding the Lakers in the playoffs first round, but they couldn’t. Utah finished this season on the back of winning only 2 games in their final 9 and now are locked in 8th, destined to meet the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
The Jazz didn’t put up much of a battle to allow the Lakers grab their 65th win of the season, the most the franchise has won since 1999-00, when they won 67. The Lakers were led by Gasol and Bynum. The Spaniard had 20 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists while Bynum put up 22 points. Deron Williams had a good game with 25 points and 13 assists but he was pretty much alone in the fight.