The Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets cleared up the top of the Western Conference playoff picture Tuesday night by winning.
But the middle was still a mess heading into the final day of the season.
The Lakers routed Sacramento 124-101 to take the No. 1 seed in the West. New Orleans did its part, beating the Clippers 114-92 to lock up the Southwest Division title and the No. 2 seed.
``A lot of people had us not even getting in the playoffs,'' New Orleans center Tyson Chandler said. ``I don't think any of us believed that. We all believed that we're one of the better teams in the conference. If you win this division it says a lot about the team because this is the best division in basketball.''
There remains 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 will be battling for that spot, which would go to the Spurs if they beat the Northwest Division champion Jazz. However, Utah would move up to No. 3 with a victory because it would then own the tiebreaker advantage against all three teams.
The bottom two spots also remain unsettled. Dallas will earn the No. 7 seed by beating New Orleans on Wednesday. If the Mavericks lose, Denver would finish seventh if it beats visiting Memphis.
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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