Wizards Playoff Tracker: Miami lacks incentive?

Wizards Playoff Tracker: Miami lacks incentive?
April 14, 2014, 10:30 am
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Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) holds the ball as Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) defends in the second half at American Airlines Arena.

(Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA regular season may be winding down, but the postseason race is heating up. From now until the playoffs tip, we'll start taking a closer look at the daily action in the Eastern Conference. More specifically, teams the Washington Wizards are battling for playoff seeding. Check back daily for updates, news and notes pertaining to the Wizards' playoff push...

What you may have missed from last night in the Association:

* The stumbling Indiana Pacers stood tall in a 102-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Need a win or a Miami Heat loss to clinch the No. 1 seed.

* The combination of the Toronto Raptors' 116-107 win over the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls loss to the playoff-eliminated New York Knicks moved the Raptors back into third due their Atlantic Division title. As the sixth seed, the Wizards would face Toronto in the first round of the playoffs if the standings remain the same.

*Brooklyn can finish no worse than tied for the fifth seed as the Nets downed the Orlando Magic 97-88.

Standings

  • 1) Indiana^ (55-26)
  • 2) Miami^ (54-25, 0.5 GB)
  • 3) Toronto^ (47-33, 7.5 GB)
  • 4) Toronto^ (47-33, 7.5 GB)
  • 5) Brooklyn^ (44-36, 10.5 GB)
  • 6) Washington^ (42-38, 12.5 GB)
  • 7) Charlotte^ (41-39, 13.5 GB)
  • 8) Atlanta (37-43, 17.5 GB)

^ clinched playoff berth

*Miami clinched Southeast Division title, Indiana clinched Central Division title, Toronto clinched Atlantic Division title

[RELATED Heat stoke Wizards' competitive style] 

News and notes that might be of interest for the Wizards: First, here's the remaining schedule between the two teams battling for sixth in the East:

Washington: Miami (Monday), @Boston (Wednesday)

Charlotte: @Atlanta (Monday), Chicago (Wednesday)

Now let's talk incentive. For the Wizards and Bobcats, this is easy: As of now, the sixth seed faces the Toronto Raptors in round one while the seventh gets the Miami Heat. However, it's not certain what Miami has to play for Monday night. The benefit of being the top seed is hosting Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. However one must reach the finals in order for that to matter. The No. 1 would face either the Chicago Bulls or Brooklyn Nets in the second round. Nobody wants to meet the relentless Bulls and the Nets swept the Heat 4-0 this season.

On deck:

*Heat @ Wizards: Will the Wizards play a full 48 minutes, especially defensively?

*Bulls @Bobcats: Will Kemba Walker play?

*Bucks @ Raptors: Will the Raptors avoid looking past the NBA's worst team?

*Pacers @ Magic: Will the haphazard Pacers fly right in the Magic Kingdom?