Cavaliers Conceding Top Seed?
Most teams in the NBA fight to get the top seed in a conference and home-court advantage throughout. Not, apparently, LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. They rested James and Kyrie Irving in a key game Monday night in Miami and lost. Thus now the Boston Celtics can win the East’s top spot with a victory on Wednesday at home vs. Milwaukee, which has clinched a playoff spot and has nothing to play for. Early reports are that the Bucks are going to mail it in and rest superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo as well as Khris Middleton, Matthew Dellavedova and Tony Snell on vs. Boston.
Cleveland, meanwhile, closes the season at home vs. Toronto on Wednesday in what now looks like an Eastern Conference semifinals preview. The Raptors are locked into the No. 3 seed and could rest their key guys. The Cavs play to rest James again and could also sit Irving and Kevin Love in assuming that Boston is going to win. LeBron-led teams have reached the NBA Finals on a few occasions as the East’s No. 2 seed so James doesn’t care about Boston taking the top spot.
Race For Final 2 In East
The Indiana Pacers are seventh in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls eighth and the Miami Heat ninth. It’s very simple for the Pacers and Bulls on Wednesday: win and they are in. Both are sizable favorites, with Indiana hosting nothing-to-play-for Atlanta and Chicago hosting the NBA’s worst team in Brooklyn. The Nets are giving the Bulls a gift by sitting star center Brook Lopez along with Jeremy Lin and Trevor Booker. So it’s not looking good for Miami, which hosts a Washington team locked into the No. 4 spot and likely to rest key guys on Wednesday. Shame for the Heat, who have the East’s best record since the All-Star break.
Little Drama Out West
Six of the eight playoff spots are locked down in the Western Conference. The only remaining question is for the No. 4 & 5 seeds between the L.A. Clippers and Utah Jazz – those two teams will square off in the first round of the playoffs regardless. Utah hosts San Antonio on Wednesday with a 9 p.m. ET tip. The Clippers host Sacramento at 10:30 p.m. ET. L.A. gets the fourth seed with a win or Jazz loss. So the Clippers should know where they stand regarding Utah’s result early in their game vs. the Kings and whether the L.A. starters have to play heavy minutes or much at all.