The Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets tried to clear up the top of the Western Conference playoff picture Tuesday night, but the middle was still a mess heading into the final two days of the season.
If the Lakers and Hornets both won, they clinched the top two seeds in the West. Los Angeles hosted Sacramento, while New Orleans was home to face the Clippers, hoping to lock up the Southwest Division title.
There would then remain a chance for a four-way tie for third place, depending on the results of games Wednesday, the last night of the regular season.
San Antonio, Utah, Phoenix and Houston would all be battling for that spot, which would go to the Northwest Division champion Jazz if they beat the Spurs on Wednesday. Utah would then own the tiebreaker advantage against all three teams.
The Spurs would be guaranteed third by beating Utah, and still could be No. 2 if the Hornets lost their last two games. New Orleans visits Dallas in the season finale.
Dallas will earn the No. 7 seed by winning that game. If the Mavericks lose, Denver would finish seventh if it beats visiting Memphis on Wednesday.
The East playoff bracket is set. Top-seed Boston faces No. 8 Atlanta; No. 2 Detroit opens against No. 7 Philadelphia; Southeast Division champion Orlando is the third seed and meets No. 6 Toronto; and defending East champ Cleveland and No. 5 Washington hook up for the third straight year in the first round.
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