What's Buzzing:

Time running out for teams clinging to playoff hopes

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Dallas Mavericks

View photo

Mar 23, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Shaun Livingston (14) passes to forward Andrei Kirilenko …

(Reuters) - Just nine of the 16 playoff spots in the National Basketball Association (NBA) remain up for grabs after the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors secured their places in the postseason over the weekend.

The Raptors and Bulls joined the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs while the Clippers followed the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder into the Western Conference postseason.

Another two Eastern playoff teams could be decided later on Monday. The idle Brooklyn Nets could clinch if the New York Knicks lost to the Utah Jazz while the Washington Wizards could join the playoffs with either a win over the Charlotte Bobcats or a Knicks loss.

The Boston Celtics may find themselves officially out of the race with a loss to Chicago coupled with a win by either the Atlanta Hawks or Knicks.

The Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks have already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in the Eastern conference.

While not mathematically assured of making the playoffs, the Bobcats, 4-1/2 games ahead of the ninth-seeded Knicks, appear to have a big enough cushion before the regular season ends on April 16.

That left the Hawks, one game up on the Knicks for the final East playoff spot despite losing six straight games, in a tight battle that included the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and Celtics.

The Raptors will be appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2008 while the Bulls extended their postseason run to six seasons.

In the West, the Clippers shrugged off an injury to All-Star forward Blake Griffin to defeat the Houston Rockets and clinch a franchise-record third consecutive playoff appearance.

The Mavericks took over the eighth and final playoff spot while the Memphis Grizzlies, who entered the weekend as the seventh-seed, fell to ninth after a pair of losses.

The Houston Rockets have yet to qualify for the postseason but were 6-1/2 games ahead of Memphis.

That left the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Dallas hanging onto the final playoff berths.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, while still technically alive in the playoff race, were seven games back of the final spot and have been out of the picture for some time.

The West's New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, Los Angels Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz had all been eliminated from playoff contention.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Julian Linden)

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (0)
  • Euroleague holders Real stutter as six rivals advance

    By Zoran Milosavljevic BELGRADE (Reuters) - Euroleague holders Real Madrid are staring at an early exit after a dramatic 94-88 defeat at Red Star Belgrade while six of their rivals reached the competition’s second group stage with three games to … More »

    Reuters - 23 minutes ago
  • Raptors coach Casey: James Johnson tweet is "not a big deal"

    The day after James Johnson took to Twitter to voice his frustration, Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey insisted the team had moved on. Johnson played five-and-a-half minutes in the Raptors' thrilling 103-99 victory Wednesday night over the … More »

    The Canadian Press - 28 minutes ago
  • Lakers-Trail Blazers Preview

    The Portland Trail Blazers' only wins in the past three weeks have come against the NBA's two Los Angeles teams. The Blazers will get to face both clubs again in back-to-back games, beginning with a home game versus the Lakers on Saturday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 15 minutes ago
  • Milt Newton's odyssey from troubled kid to Timberwolves GM

    Amos and his wife Carmen were embarking on a new mentoring program for wayward children, and 14-year-old Milt Newton was among the first three candidates to receive the family's help. A hard-edged fighter scarred deeply by his father's abandonment, … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 6 minutes ago
  • Okafor says scuffle 'dumb on my part'

    Okafor says scuffle 'dumb on my part'

    Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor says he's embarrassed about a Boston nightclub scuffle captured on video and is dealing with the team and league on possible discipline. ''It was definitely dumb on my part,'' Okafor said following a … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 10 minutes ago