In the biggest game of Monday night, the Phoenix Suns played host to the Memphis Grizzlies. With a victory, the Grizzlies would a clinch a spot in the playoffs while the Suns needed to win Monday, then get a victory over the Sacramento Kings Wednesday and hope the Grizzlies fall to the Dallas Mavericks on the same night.
The Grizzlies wanted to end all of the suspense Monday night, defeating the Suns 97-91 behind 32 points and nine rebounds from Zach Randolph, eliminating the Suns from playoff contention.
With a 114-93 loss to the Washington Wizards, the Miami Heat assured themselves of the second seed, clinching the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference for the Indiana Pacers.
By defeating the Orlando Magic 108-95, the Chicago Bulls clinched at least the four seed. They are tied with the Toronto Raptors, who took down the Milwaukee Bucks 110-100, with a record of 48-33, for the third seed. The Raptors hold the tie-breaker because they won the Atlanta Division while the Bulls finished second to the Pacers in the Central Division. The Raptors will be in New York to take on the Knicks Wednesday and the Bulls will travel to Charlotte to battle the Bobcats.
In the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets defeated the San Antonio Spurs 104-98 to clinch the four seed, setting up a first round showdown with the Portland Trail Blazers.
With a 130-120 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Golden State Warriors clinched the sixth seed (they won three out of four games against the Mavericks this season).
The Wizards remain one game ahead of the Charlotte Bobcats, who took down the Atlanta Hawks 95-93, for the sixth seed, but the Bobcats hold the tie-breaker, winning three of the four meetings between the two this season. The Wizards travel to Boston to take on the Celtics and the Bobcats host the Bulls on Wednesday.
If the postseason started today, these would be the current matchups:
Indiana Pacers(1) vs. Atlanta Hawks(8)
Chicago Bulls (4) vs. Brooklyn Nets (5)
Toronto Raptors (3) vs. Washington Wizards (6)
Miami Heat (2) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (7)
San Antonio Spurs (1) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8)
Houston Rockets (4) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (5)
Los Angeles Clippers (3) vs. Golden State Warriors (6)
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7)