Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 4/16/12

Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1:  A clearer playoff picture starting to emerge in the East

The season ends in 10 days, and only now are we finally starting to see things snap into focus in the NBA playoff picture. Most teams have five or six games left on the docket, so in the East, the top four seeds are almost definitely going to be 1: Chicago, 2: Miami, 3: Indiana, 4: Boston.  Orlando and Atlanta are tied at 5/6, but they'll likely fall no further than that.  Philadelphia is the 7th seed, a half game up on New York for the last spot. 

Milwaukee has a chance to sneak in.  Three of their six games left are against playoff teams... though the last game is against Boston and that might be a Celtics lay-down as they rest everyone for the playoffs.  They also play Toronto, Washington and Philly, so that's three potential wins and a game against the team ahead of them.  Milwaukee can get in, but they need to get hot.

It's still mayhem out West.  OKC and San Antonio are batting for 1/2.  Lakers and Clippers are going to be 3/4, likely in that order but it's no guarantee.  Memphis COULD sneak into the 4th seed, but they could also drop to 7 or 8.  3.5 games separate the 5-9 seeds.  A complete collapse by the Grizzlies (unlikely, but theoretically possible), could mean the current 5 seed misses the playoffs 10 days from now.  This would be a bad time for Marc Gasol's knee injury to be serious.

Welcome to the lockout schedule.  

2:  Good Bynum

This is why the Lakers are willing to put up with some of his antics.  Bynum put up 23 points and 16 rebounds in an overtime win against Dallas, beating the Mavs without Kobe Bryant.  Pau Gasol chipped in 20 and 10 and Ramon Sessions had 22 points to help pick up the no-Kobe slack. 

The Lakers will be dangerous no matter what, but the Lakers with Bynum playing well and composed and Sessions able to contribute like that will be no surprise to emerge from the West.  Bynum can be viewed as the lynch pin, though.  He can be so dominant, but that just makes his ability to be disruptive even greater.  When he's acting out, he drags the Lakers down.  But when he's playing to his potential, he lifts the Lakers.  

3:  HIGHLIGHTS

Jason Maxiell with a vicious put back

     

Marcus Thornton hits the game winner 

Derrick Rose sends it to OT

4:  Line of the night:  Camelo Anthony - 42 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists

Melo dropped 35 of his 42 in quarters 1-3, so he might have been a little gassed in the fourth when he shot 2-6.  Regardless, it continues a month-long scoring binge in which Melo is averaging almost 32 points on 51% shooting over 38 minutes per game.  He's clearly trying to make up for the lost scoring due to injuries to Jeremy Lin and Amar'e Stoudemire... and we know Melo is more than happy to take more shots.  

5:  You can quote me on that

“I didn’t want to come out. I just wanted to win and get it over with. I tried for 48 minutes. I wanted to see where I was conditioning wise.”
     -Celtics PG Rajon Rondo, on playing 43 minutes against Charlotte in the absence of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce & Ray Allen 

"That's Coach Bryant now.  He's over there drawing stuff up on the board. He's pulling us over to the side and helping us out tremendously."
     -Lakers PG Ramon Sessions, on Kobe's instruction from the bench as Bryant deals with a shin injury 

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This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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Ranking the best college football fan bases

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

The 'Not so elementary, my dear Watson' quiz

September chill hits Astros, Dodgers at worst time

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