Suns battling for playoff lives as field nearly set
(Reuters) - The Indiana Pacers can secure the Eastern Conference's top seed without taking the court on Monday while the last entrant to the NBA's playoff field could be set with the Phoenix Suns facing a do-or-die game.
The idle Pacers would secure the conference's top seed, and with it home-court advantage for each series they play before the NBA Finals, if the two-time defending champion Miami Heat lose their road game to the Washington Wizards.
All eight of the East's playoff spots have been secured but the Western Conference has one available postseason ticket with three days left in the regular season.
The Suns, one game back of the eighth seed in the West, look to keep the visiting Memphis Grizzlies from securing a trip to the postseason while keeping their own playoff hopes alive.
Memphis, however, have more than just clinching a playoff berth on their mind as they can claim the sixth seed, and a more favorable first-round opponent, by winning their last two games coupled with a pair of losses by the Golden State Warriors.
The San Antonio Spurs secured top spot in the West over the weekend while the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers will represent the next two seeds.
After that, the Houston Rockets will try to fend off the Portland Trail Blazers for the fourth seed while the Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Grizzlies and Suns sort out the rest.
The Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls have already secured home-court advantage for the East playoffs but the teams, tied for third, are unsure which side of the playoff bracket they will land in.
Both teams have two games remaining and the Raptors hold the tiebreaker over Chicago having won the Atlantic Division.
The fifth-seed Brooklyn Nets have a two-game lead over the Washington Wizards while the Charlotte Bobcats are a further game back.
The New York Knicks won both of their games over the weekend but it was too little, too late as the Atlanta Hawks beat Miami to punch their ticket as the East's eighth seed.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating)
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