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NBA

How Saturday's results impact the NBA's playoff picture

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Warriors vs. Nuggets, Thunder vs. Clippers (NBA Getty Images)

If it feels like almost every game at this point of the season has playoff implications, it's because they do.

On a busy Saturday in the NBA, which was headlined by the Golden State Warriors hosting the Denver Nuggets and the Oklahoma City Thunder taking on the LA Clippers, all nine games had some sort of impact on the playoff picture.

From the top of the Eastern Conference to the bottom of the Western Conference, here's what happened...

The top of the Eastern Conference

A loss to the Houston Rockets means the Philadelphia 76ers are now only one game ahead of the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.

That makes for some interesting games this weekend.

If the Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday and the 76ers lose to the Indiana Pacers on Monday, Boston and Philadelphia will have the same record at 41-26.

A 76ers win, meanwhile, would give them the same record as the Pacers at 42-25.

Comfortably ahead of all of those teams is the Toronto Raptors, who now have a five game cushion on the Pacers, a six game cushion on the 76ers and a seven game cushion on the Celtics following their commanding win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The question for the Raptors is can they catch the Milwaukee Bucks, who currently lead them by two games?

The middle of the Eastern Conference

The Detroit Pistons looked like they were going to lose to the Chicago Bulls, but a monster fourth quarter - in which they outscored the Bulls 43-24 - helped keep their win streak alive.

Now 6-1 since the All-Star break, the Pistons hold a 0.5 game lead over the Brooklyn Nets for the sixth seed.

The Pistons play the Bulls again on Monday before traveling to Brooklyn on Tuesday for what should be a fun matchup between two teams jockeying for playoff position in the middle of the Eastern Conference.

The bottom of the Eastern Conference

The Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets all walked away with wins on Saturday.

The Heat blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Magic took care of business against the Dallas Mavericks and the Hornets won a thriller against the Washington Wizards.

As a result, the Heat hold on to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference for another day, with the Magic and Hornets trailing by one game.

The Washington Wizards are still technically in the running, but losing to the Hornets puts them four games out of the last spot with 17 games remaining on their schedule.

That's ... probably too much ground for them to make up.

The top of the Western Conference

The biggest game of the day featured the Golden State Warriors hosting the Denver Nuggets.

A win for the Nuggets would've tied them with the Warriors for the best record in the Western Conference, but Golden State cruised to a win to take a two game lead in the standings.

The Nuggets were lucky that the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the LA Clippers, otherwise they would only be only 2.5 games ahead of the Thunder for the No. 2 seed.

Now they have to worry about the Rockets, who moved into the third seed with their win over the 76ers.

Remember when the Rockets got the season off to a slow start? Me neither.

The bottom of the Western Conference

The Clippers now have the seventh-best record in the Western Conference following their win over the Thunder. And a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies means the Utah Jazz hold an ever-so-slight lead on the Clippers in the standings, with the San Antonio Spurs trailing them both by half a game.

It looks like the top eight teams in the Western Conference are set, but there's still a lot to be determined when it comes to the order.

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