The Cavaliers and Lakers are loaded — and locked.
With its Monday victory at Indiana, Cleveland locked up the No. 1 overall playoff seed. That means, as Best in the West, the Lakers would be a potential road team against the Cavaliers in such an NBA Finals. In all other Finals permutations, as the league's No. 2 overall seed, it would be the Lakers with the homecourt edge.
In addition, the bottom seed of the Eastern playoff pack also is settled, with Detroit locked into No. 8 after its Monday loss to visiting Chicago.
Still, with two nights remaining in a regular season that began way back on Oct. 28, only two first-round series have been locked in:
No. 1 Cleveland vs. No. 8 Detroit and No. 4 Atlanta vs. No. 5 Miami in the East.
And so, on we go, with our daily look at what still matters, our back-at-you to those who insist the regular season doesn't matter in the NBA.
Boston at Philadelphia: The 76ers' desperation, beyond their current five-game losing streak, plays on.
Yet even though it has fallen to No. 7 in the East, one spot behind Chicago, Philadelphia (40-40) controls its own destiny when it comes to moving back to No. 6.
Because they own the tiebreaker against the Bulls (41-40) by virtue of a better conference record, the 76ers are guaranteed No. 6 by winning their final two or otherwise closing with the same record as Chicago.
Considering the way Boston went through the motions Sunday in Cleveland, and considering Kevin Garnett is not expected back for this one for Boston, Philadelphia just might be able to keep alive its hopes for avoiding the No. 2 Celtics in the first round.
Remember, the team that finishes at No. 6 gets the suddenly struggling Magic in the first round.
Utah at L.A. Lakers: Utah had better hope the lack of meaning in this one saps the Lakers' desire, in light of the Jazz's dreary 15-25 road record.
The irony here is with a victory, the Jazz would finish 2-1 against the Lakers, yet a victory also could help Utah avoid opening against the Lakers in the first round.
At 48-33, the Jazz would take the tiebreaker if able to close in a tie with the Mavericks, who improved Monday to 49-32. Utah's edge comes from superior conference record.
New Orleans at San Antonio: Games such as these are why it won't be much before midnight in the East before anyone has a clue about the West seedings. This very well could have seeding significance to both teams, for the Spurs (53-28) at the top of the West, and for the Hornets (49-32) at the bottom of the conference seedings.
The Spurs trail 2-1 in the season series. Had the Hornets not been humiliated by the Rockets on Monday night, they would have clinched No. 6 in the West. If the Spurs and Rockets both win or both lose on the season's final night, the Spurs would finish second in the Southwest to the Rockets by virtue of a complex tiebreaker.
Houston at Dallas: The Rockets (53-28) lead the season series 2-1 and will be playing for the Southwest title, having gone without a division title since 1993-94. This one figures to be as insane as Ron Artest. The scenarios are so absurd that there is a chance Houston could fall as far as No. 5 in the West with a loss or rise as high as No. 2 with a win, while Dallas (49-32) could possibly move up to No. 6 with a win.
Philadelphia at Cleveland: Despite being locked into the No. 1 overall seed, the Cavaliers certainly will be tempted to try to match the all-time record for homecourt success, of 30-1. For the second night in a row, Philadelphia finds its seeding hopes at the whim of how hard its superior-but-locked-in opponent chooses to play.
Toronto at Chicago: Remember, Philadelphia holds the tiebreaker on the Bulls (41-40) by virtue of conference record. But barring consecutive victories by the 76ers over the Cavaliers and Celtics, Chicago figures to have something at stake here in the quest to elude the Celtics in the first round and get Orlando with a No. 6 finish. Also remember that the Bulls stand among the league's hottest teams at home.
Denver at Portland: The Blazers (53-28) could have a shot at homecourt advantage in the first round here because of their tiebreaker advantage over the Spurs. While Denver (54-27) still could finish tied atop the Northwest with Portland, the Nuggets have clinched the division by virtue of superior division record. Denver, assured of no worse than No. 3 in the West, still will have motivation, with Houston holding the head-to-head tiebreaker and in position to pass it for No. 2 in the conference, on what should be a wild final night of the season.
PBT: San Antonio executed its game plan well in Game 1, shutting down Grizzlies star Zach Randolph.
PBT: Spurs guard Tony Parker repeatedly sliced through the Grizzlies' defense, creating 20 points and nine assists in an easy Game 1 win for San Antonio.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
DPS: Lionel Hollins tells us how he plans to play against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.
Latest from ProBasketballTalk
Durant, Thunder players tweet out support for Oklahoma City1 hr 39 min ago
GM on Warriors turnaround: “Sense of desperation has passed”3 hr 24 min ago
Report: Nets ‘honing in on Lionel Hollins’6 hr 58 min ago
Get your NBA cheer on
Check out some of the dancers from the NBA.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.