Hawks playoff watch: It’s the Pacers … for now (updated)

Roy Hibbert, Al Horford
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Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel (right) talks strategy with guard George Hill. The Hawks swept the Pacers (3-0) this season. (Al Mast / AP)

Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel (right) talks strategy with guard George Hill. The Hawks swept the Pacers (3-0) this season. (Al Mast / AP)

The Celtics are in and the Nets are on the outside looking in.

The Nets lost at home to the Bulls Monday that clinched a playoff berth for the Celtics and moved the Pacers ahead of the Nets for the final available spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Heat are still mathematically alive. With two days remaining in the regular season, the final spot and order of the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds are still undetermined. Both the Celtics and Pacers, currently in those two spots, are in action tonight.

The Nets, who own tiebreakers over the Celtics and Pacers, need a win Wednesday at home against the Magic and a loss by the Pacers in at least one of their final two games to make the postseason. If not, the Hawks get the added bonus of the first-round pick they will swap with the Nets being a lottery selection.

The No. 1 Hawks wait to find out their opening-round playoff opponent which won’t be determined until the final day of the season. The Hawks swept the Pacers (3-0), Nets (4-0) and Heat (4-0) this season.

Here’s how things stand in the Eastern Conference for the final two spots:

7. Boston          (38-42)    21.5 GB     2 games remaining

8. Indiana         (37-43)    22.5 GB    2 games remaining

9. Brooklyn      (37-44)     23.0 GB    1 game remaining

10. Miami         (36-45)    24.0 GB     1 game remaining

Upcoming schedules

Celtics: 1 home, 1 away – vs. Raptors Tuesday, at Bucks Wednesday

Pacers: 1 home, 1 away – vs. Wizards Tuesday, at Grizzlies Wednesday

Nets: 1 home –  vs. Magic Wednesday

Heat: 1 away –  at 76ers Wednesday

Here are the playoff scenarios from the NBA:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. ATLANTA HAWKS
  2. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
  3. Chicago or Toronto
  4. Toronto or Chicago
  5. WASHINGTON WIZARDS
  6. MILWAUKEE BUCKS
  7. Boston or Indiana
  8. Indiana, Brooklyn, Miami or Boston

Tonight’s Clinch Scenarios:

Boston clinches No. 7 seed if Celtics win or Pacers lose

Miami is eliminated with a Pacers win

Remaining Seeding Scenarios:

EASTERN

Toronto will be seeded:

  • No. 3 if Raptors win both games OR Bulls lose and Raptors win one game
  • No. 4 if Raptors lose both games OR Bulls win and Raptors lose one game

Chicago will be seeded:

  • No. 3 if Bulls win and Raptors lose one game OR Raptors lose both games
  • No. 4 if Raptors win both games OR Bulls lose and Raptors win one game

Boston will be seeded:

  • No. 7 if Celtics win one game OR Pacers lose one game
  • No. 8 if Celtics lose both games and Pacers win both games

Indiana will be seeded:

  • No. 7 if Pacers win both games and Celtics lose both games
  • No. 8 if Celtics lose only one game and Pacers win both games OR Pacers win only one game and Nets lose

Brooklyn will be seeded:

  • No. 8 if Nets win and Pacers lose at least one game OR Pacers lose both games and Heat loses

Miami will be seeded:

  • No. 8 if Heat win, Nets lose and Pacers lose both games

 


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