The zombie stagger towards the final three spots of the Eastern Conference playoffs is finally coming to a close in the next week, if only because the season ends in five days and SOMEONE has to earn those last three spots. If you’re a Nets fan or somehow find yourself otherwise invested in who gets the pleasure of tussling with the Hawks or Cavaliers in the first round, here’s what you’re watching today:
3 P.M. — Nets @ Bucks. Obviously, you’re keeping an eye on the last matchup between the Jason Kidds and the Artists Formerly Known As The Jason Kidds. If the Nets win today, their slim chance at sixth seed is still alive, and it puts them just one win or one Pacers loss away from clinching a playoff spot.
3 P.M. — Celtics @ Cavaliers. It’s at the same time as the Nets game, but keep an eye on the scoreboard. The Celtics & Nets are currently tied with a 37-42 record, but the Celtics own the tiebreaker between the two teams. The Celtics get a nice little boost: LeBron James & Kyrie Irving are not expected to play. UPDATE: So, not just James and Irving: those two, Kevin Love, and J.R. Smith all will sit out, per Chris Fedor.
UPDATE #2: The Celtics dominated the resting Cavaliers, putting one game of separation between them and the Nets. The Celtics own the tiebreaker between the two teams.
6 P.M. — Thunder @ Pacers. The Pacers sit just one game behind the Nets, but have a difficult game against the Thunder: manic alien life form Russell Westbrook is leading a Thunder team that’s fighting for its playoff life, and the Pacers have no breathing room. Paul George’s return will help Indiana, but a Pacers loss coupled by a Nets win would eliminate the Pacers and guarantee the Nets at least the eighth spot. UPDATE: The Nets lost and Pacers won, so no elimination yet for the Pacers.
Not Playing: The Miami Heat, who will be eliminated from contention if either the Nets or Pacers win today.