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NBA

How Saturday's results affected the Eastern Conference playoff picture

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Dwyane Wade, Gordon Hayward, Nikola Vucevic [NBA Getty Images]

Heading into Saturday, there were six games with a potential impact on the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat were fighting to keep their seasons alive, the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers were battling for home court advantage in a potential first round playoff matchup and the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic were looking to pick up wins to keep them in the playoff picture.

Here are the results from those contests:

Hornets 113, Raptors 111

At the start of Saturday, the Hornets knew this - a loss and a Pistons and Magic win would end their season.

The Raptors had Charlotte on the brink of elimination but Jeremy Lamb's late game heroics kept the Hornets' season alive, again. Just weeks after hitting a game-winning halfcourt shot to beat the Raptors in Toronto, Lamb's number was called again as he buried a clutch 3-pointer that would win his team the game.

He and Frank Kaminsky scored 22 points off the bench apiece to help out Kemba Walker (29 points) to breathe life into the Hornets for the moment.

Hornets' playoff scenario: They are now 2.0 games back of the No. 8 seed in the East with three games remaining. Charlotte will have to win out to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Hornets' remaining schedule: at Pistons, at Cavaliers, vs. Magic

Magic 149, Hawks 113

The Magic knew exactly what was at stake heading into this one.

The Hawks led 3-0 after a Trae Young 3-pointer to start the game and never saw the lead again. Orlando blew them out of the gym, leading by as much as 40 points at one point in the contest.

The Magic used an extremely balanced scoring attack to defeat the Hawks - they got 25 points from Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross. Their 149 points marked the third most in Magic history on their way to their ninth consecutive home win.

Orlando has now won eight of their last 10 games, getting hot at the perfect time.

Magic's playoff scenario: Orlando went from a playoff outsider to the No. 6 seed with two games remaining in the season. They're a half-game up on the Pistons and Nets and are one win and a Heat loss away from clinching a playoff spot. If the Magic can win both of their final games, they're in.

Magic's remaining schedule: at Celtics, at Hornets

Celtics 117, Pacers 97

The Celtics knew that if they could win this one, they'll essentially clinch home court advantage in a first round playoff series against the Pacers.

With that on the line, Boston destroyed Indiana on their home floor to assert their dominance. Gordon Hayward was terrific again for the Celtics, scoring 21 points on a perfect 9-for-9 shooting from the field.

Boston has taken the season series 3-1 over the Pacers - Indiana took the first game on a Victor Oladipo buzzer-beater back in November but Boston earned three straight wins after that.

Celtics/Pacers playoff scenario: Boston has officially taken all tiebreakers over the Pacers. They are one game ahead of Indiana with two games remaining on each team's schedule. The Pacers only chance at the No. 4 seed is with two wins and two Celtics losses. The Celtics are 2.0 games back from the No. 3 seed, but one 76ers win would lock Boston into that No. 4 seed.

Celtics' remaining schedule: vs. Magic, at Wizards

Pacers' remaining schedule: vs. Nets, at Hawks

Timberwolves 111, Heat 109

The Heat had an eight-point lead at the half in Minnesota but couldn't hold it together in the second half.

Dwyane Wade scored 24 points, doing what he could to give the Heat a much-needed victory. He attacked the rim for a layup to bring Miami within one with 10 seconds to go and when Keita Bates-Diop went 1-for-2 from the free throw line, the Heat had their chance.

Wade got a decent look at what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer but it was just off the mark, making the Heat's playoff hopes a bit more complicated.

Heat's playoff scenario: Miami currently sits one game out of the No. 8 seed with three games remaining. The Pistons and the Nets are the two teams just ahead of them and with their final game of the season against Brooklyn, that could very well be a play-in game for the final playoff spot.

Heat's remaining schedule: at Raptors, vs. 76ers, at Nets

Thunder 123, Pistons 110

Blake Griffin played out of his mind, but it wasn't enough for the Pistons to secure the win.

Griffin finished with 45 points on a career-high nine (!) made 3-pointers to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Paul George scored 30 for OKC while Jerami Grant, Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder and Markieff Morris all joined him in double-figures.

Detroit needed more offensively from Andre Drummond who finished with just four points.

The Pistons were looking like a lock for the playoffs at the start of March but have taken a turn in the wrong direction. They've lost three games in a row and have lost seven of their last 10, leaving little room for error in their final three games.

Pistons' playoff scenario: The Pistons currently sit in the No. 8 seed - they have the same record as the Nets but Brooklyn holds the tie breaker. Detroit is one game ahead of the Heat and should they finish with the same record as Miami, they hold the tiebreaker.

Pistons' remaining schedule: vs. Hornets, vs. Grizzlies, at Knicks

Current Eastern Conference standings

Team Record Pct. GB
1. Bucks 59-20 .747 -
2. Raptors 56-24 .700 3.5
3. 76ers 49-30 .620 10
4. Celtics 48-32 .600 11.5
5. Pacers 47-33 .588 12.5
6. Magic 40-40 .500 19.5
7. Nets 39-40 .494 20
8. Pistons 39-40 .494 20
Heat 38-41 .481 21
Hornets 37-42 .468 22

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