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
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • NBA-Highlights of Tuesday's National Basketball Association games:

      Oct 25 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's National Basketball Association games: Cavaliers 117, Knicks 88 LeBron James celebrated the Cavaliers' championship with 19 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for his 43rd career triple-double, … More »

      Reuters - 1 hour 35 minutes ago
    • Injuries still a concern as Pelicans open vs. Nuggets

      The New Orleans Pelicans were a MASH unit last season, so riddled with injuries that their players missed a combined total of 351 games, forcing coach Alvin Gentry to use 42 starting lineup combinations. Now that the calendar has flipped to the … More »

      AP - Sports - 1 hour 50 minutes ago
    • D'Antoni returns to LA as Walton takes over Lakers

      Another chapter of storylines unfolds when the Los Angeles Lakers tip off their 2016-17 campaign Wednesday night. Last season, it was Kobe Bryant's final year that grabbed the headlines, punctuated by a 60-point performance in his last game and a … More »

      AP - Sports - 2 hours 25 minutes ago
    • Suns set to reveal defined backcourt vs. Kings

      After a season of injuries and indecision, the Phoenix Suns hope they have tweaked their young roster correctly as they open the 2016-17 season against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. Two years ago, the Suns' best three guards (Eric … More »

      AP - Sports - 2 hours 40 minutes ago
    • Damian Lillard backs up MVP talk with 39 in Blazers opener

      Damian Lillard backs up MVP talk with 39 in Blazers opener

      Damian Lillard was electric in the fourth quarter vs. the Jazz. Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard earlier this week when he made the bold claim that he wants to be the 2016-17 NBA MVP. Lillard is not considered one of the league’s five … More »

      Ball Don't Lie - 2 hours 47 minutes ago