The Playoff picture is really beginning to take shape as we get closer and closer to April beginning. The Playoffs are very much in sight.
and a clear way to see that will be the changes in your local paper's — or NBA.com's — standings pages. You will very soon start seeing those little x's next to team names as they clinch Playoff spots.
So far, Miami, San Antonio and Oklahoma City are the only teams that have officially clinched a Playoff spot. The Bobcats are the only team that have been officially eliminated. That list could very well be added to in the next week however.
The Pacers' magic number is two, meaning any combination of two Pacers' wins and two Raptors' losses will clinch a third straight Playoff berth for Indiana. The Clippers magic number is three.
More teams could be eliminated from Playoff contention officially this week.
The Magic with a loss to the Bucks today would be eliminated from the postseason officially. Either way, their number to have their Playoff streak of six seasons snapped is three — meaning any combination of three losses or three Bucks wins would send the Magic home from the Playoffs.
Out West, the Suns will be eliminated from the Playoffs with two more losses or two more Lakers wins. The Hornets would officially be lottery bound with three more losses or three more Lakers wins.
For teams like Orlando, Phoenix and New Orleans, the Playoffs are a long shot. And that is putting it nicely. But getting rid of the fluff makes the Playoff picture all the more clearer.
This week we are separating the wheat from the chaff.