It'll Be Pacers-LeBron If...

posted by Schultz - 

Where we sit today, the Pacers would draw the Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Philadelphia is currently one up in the loss column over the Cavs, making them the #3 seed, while the Cavaliers and Pacers are separated by two games with two games to play. Here are some playoff scenarios in the final days of the regular season:

#3 seed: Pacers go 2-0 (Charlotte, at Charlotte) + Cavaliers go 0-2 (New York, at New York) + Philadelphia goes 0-3 (Dallas, at Atlanta, Milwaukee)

#4 seed: Pacers go 2-0 + Cavaliers go 0-2 or Pacers go 2-0 + Sixers go 0-3

#5 seed: Any Pacers loss or Any Sixers win + Any Cavaliers win.

So, there is a very slim chance that the Pacers are anything other than the #5 seed.

(Here's an updated look at how the NBA determines the tiebreakers, in case you're interested)

But, what about how this pertains to Philadelphia and Cleveland? The two teams split their head-to-head series 2-2, but if the Cavs win the Central Division - which they would clinch with just one win over the woeful Knicks - that would give them the tiebreaker. Here are their scenarios:

Philadelphia goes 3-0: Sixers get the #3 seed, regardless of what the Cavaliers do.

Philadelphia goes 2-1 and Cleveland goes 2-0: Cavaliers get the #3 seed, Sixers get the #4 seed.

Philadelphia goes 1-2 and Cleveland goes 1-1: Cavaliers get the #3 seed, Sixers get the #4 seed.

Either team goes winless: that re-opens the door for the Pacers, and you can reference some of the three-way tiebreakers above.

Considering that LeBron's teams are 12-0 in his career in the first round (48-7 in first round games with three straight sweeps), Indiana would much rather avoid the Cavaliers in the 4/5 matchup, so root hard for a Philly loss.

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