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NBA Playoff Picture 2012: Orlando Magic Battle New York Knicks for East's Sixth Seed

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Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

The Orlando Magic's loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night clinched the Atlantic Division crown for Boston and, as such, assured that it would enter the 2012 NBA Playoffs seeded no lower than fourth in the Eastern Conference. At 36-26, the Magic trail the 37-25 Atlanta Hawks by one game for the East's fifth seed. They also hold a three-game advantage over the New York Knicks for the sixth seed.

As David Steele, a Magic broadcaster and friend of Orlando Pinstriped Post, pointed out via Twitter, any combination of two Magic victories and Knicks losses will clinch the sixth seed for Orlando. Even if the Magic lose three of their final four games, they can still clinch the sixth seed if New York loses at least once.

The sixth seed might be the most desirable of all in the East. The seventh- and eighth- seeded teams will begin the first round on the road against the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, by far the East's most difficult opponents. And given how well Boston has played of late--it's 27-16 after a 10-10 start--there's no rush to begin a playoff run against it, either.

In contrast, whoever earns the sixth seed will face the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Though Indiana is a tough, young, squad and will have home-court advantage, it's the least playoff-tested group of the bunch and doesn't figure to offer nearly as much resistance as Boston, Chicago, and Miami will.

Orlando is 3-1 against Indiana this season, while New York won two of the three meetings between the teams. The Pacers have won 10 of their last 11 games and 23 of their last 33 overall.

The table below lists the remaining schedules for the Magic and Knicks.

Orlando New York
Date/
Time
Opponent
(2011/12 Record Against)
Date/
Time
Opponent
(2011/12 Record Against)
21 April
10:30 PM
at Utah Jazz
(0-0)
20 April
7:30 PM
at Cleveland Cavaliers
(2-1)
22 April
8:00 PM
at Denver Nuggets
(0-1)
22 April
1:00 PM
at Atlanta Hawks
(1-1)
25 April
7:00 PM
vs. Charlotte Bobcats
(2-1)
25 April
8:00 PM
vs. Los Angeles Clippers
(0-0)
26 April
8:00 PM
at Memphis Grizzlies
(0-0)
26 April
8:00 PM
at Charlotte Bobcats
(2-1)

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