Apr 15, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy pumps his fist in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
The Indiana Pacers had a pretty good day on Sunday with regard to their playoff standing in the Eastern Conference. With six games to play, the Pacers continue rolling in third place in the East which would mean playing the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs were they to tip on Monday.
It may be a "careful what you wish for" situation but with Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu injured and no sure thing for the playoffs, the Magic would be a nice first round opponent in the 6th spot. Orlando also lost Glen Davis to a sprained knee putting his status up in the air. The only problem is that all of those issues could drop Orlando out of the sixth spot. Fortunately, Orlando beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday to maintain a 3.5 game lead over 7th place Philadelphia which could go a long way to solidifying the sixth spot for the Magic.
The New York Knicks also lost, dropping to 8th in the conference and four games behind Orlando, so the Knicks should be more worried about holding off the Milwaukee Bucks than moving up to the sixth spot.
As for the third spot in the East, the Pacers held onto their 2.5 game lead over Boston as the Celtics took care of business against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Pacers did get another break when the Atlanta Hawks dumped a game to the Toronto Raptors. That puts the Hawks three full games behind the Pacers.
So by Sunday evening, the Pacers' playoff picture improved nicely and they didn't even have to break a sweat. Now they just need to go out and beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday to fully take advantage of the way things fell in their favor on their day off.