NBA playoff tracker: The top seed in the East slipping away from Nets, Bucks

Yahoo Sports Staff
·5-min read

Yahoo Sports will keep you updated nightly on the NBA playoff race during the last two weeks of the regular season. Check back daily for the latest movement in the standings, what to watch for and teams securing their 2020-21 playoff berths.

Tuesday’s standings

Eastern Conference

1. Philadelphia 76ers (44-21)

2. Brooklyn Nets (43-23, 1.5 GB)

3. Milwaukee Bucks (41-24, 3.0 GB)

4. New York Knicks (37-28, 7.0 GB)

5. Atlanta Hawks (36-30, 8.5 GB)

6. Miami Heat (35-31, 9.5 GB)

Play-in tournament

7. Boston Celtics (34-31, 10.0 GB)

8. Charlotte Hornets (32-33, 12.0 GB)

9. Indiana Pacers (30-34, 13.5 GB)

10. Washington Wizards (30-35, 14.0 GB)

On the playoff bubble

11. Toronto Raptors (27-39, 17.5 GB)

12. Chicago Bulls (26-39, 18.0 GB)

Western Conference

1. Phoenix Suns (47-18)

2. Utah Jazz (47-18)

3. Los Angeles Clippers (44-22, 3.5 GB)

4. Denver Nuggets (43-22, 4.0 GB)

5. Dallas Mavericks (37-28, 10.0 GB)

6. Los Angeles Lakers (37-28, 10.0 GB)

Play-in tournament

7. Portland Trail Blazers (36-29, 11.0 GB)

8. Golden State Warriors (33-33, 14.5 GB)

9. Memphis Grizzlies (32-32, 14.5 GB)

10. San Antonio Spurs (31-33, 15.5 GB)

On the playoff bubble

11. New Orleans Pelicans (30-36, 17.5 GB)

12. Sacramento Kings (28-37, 19.0 GB)

Game of the night: Brooklyn drops third straight as Milwaukee clinches playoff spot

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Blake Griffin #2 of the Brooklyn Nets during the second half of a game at Fiserv Forum on May 04, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets again on Tuesday night. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The rematch following Sunday's thriller between Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't disappoint but Brooklyn's losing streak hit three games after Milwaukee closed on an 18-1 run to win, 124-118, and clinch a playoff berth in the process. 

Milwaukee only trails No. 2 seed Brooklyn by 1.5 games with the Nets playing their next three games (Dallas, Denver, Chicago) on the road and without the injured James Harden. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers are moving closer to the No. 1 seed in the East as Yahoo Sports' Ben Rohrbach explains why that matters:

Here's what we do know: The No. 1 seed in the East is a massive advantage.

Considering tiebreakers, the Philadelphia 76ers (44-21) now essentially hold a three-game edge on the top seed over both the Nets and Bucks with a cupcake seven-game schedule the rest of the way. It would take a massive collapse by the Sixers for Brooklyn and Milwaukee not to land on the same side of the bracket.

That is brutal news for both teams. Not only does the No. 1 seed mean not having to face Brooklyn or Milwaukee in the second round of the playoffs, it most likely means avoiding the two defending conference finalists in the opening round. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are sitting sixth and seventh in the East.

The Bucks will host triple-double machine Russell Westbrook and the surging Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

Performance of the night: Chris Paul

He's not going to actually win MVP but Chris Paul continues to play at a high level in leading the Phoenix Suns to the best record in the NBA. Paul's 23 points, 16 assists, four steals helped the Suns defeat Cleveland in overtime, 134-118. But it was the zero turnovers by the 35-year-old that was notable. 

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And to further put into perspective what Paul has accomplished during his career in not turning the ball over:

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What to watch Wednesday

New York @ Denver (9:00 p.m. ET)

Derrick Rose #4 of the New York Knicks goes to the basket during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden on April 20, 2021 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
The Knicks just keep winning. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

New York's nine-game winning streak was snapped last week by the Phoenix Suns, but the Knicks have rebounded during this late-season road trip and have won three straight since last Monday. While they might be running out of time to catch the Milwaukee Bucks as the No. 3 seed in the East, a win would increase their lead over Atlanta with six games remaining after Wednesday. 

The Nuggets clinched their spot in the playoffs on Monday night thanks to the Portland Trail Blazers losing to the Atlanta Hawks. Denver fell to fourth in the West after the Clippers defeated the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. Since Jamal Murray tore his ACL and was diagnosed out for the season on April 13, the Nuggets are 9-2.

One last thing

You know Steph made this shot, right?

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