Most of the country is paying attention to college basketball right now, but the NBA games grind on, and there were quite a few last night. Here’s what the Western Conference standings look like right now:
Here’s a shot that’s a little easier to see:
Seeds 1 and 2 are still somewhat in doubt, and the Houston Rockets look to be locked into the 3 seed. The currently 4th-seeded Utah Jazz are 1.5 games up on the Los Angeles Clippers, who are 1 game up on the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are 1.5 games up on the Memphis Grizzlies. So the 4th-7th seeds are separated by 4 games. Memphis has a sizeable lead on the Denver Nuggets, (5.5 games) and it doesn’t appear as though they’ll be caught. As for the 8th spot, the Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers are locked in a titanic battle for playoffs irrelevancy, with Denver having the edge by one game.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s get on to recapping the action from last night:
The Good News:
(5) Los Angeles Clippers 95 (10) Dallas Mavericks (97)
Curry (of the Seth variety) and the Mavs gave the Jazz a major gift, beating Flop City at home in a hard-fought game. The Jazz have now extended their lead to 1.5 games on a night off. Awesome.
The Bad News:
(2) Spurs 97 (7) Grizzlies 90
This isn’t exactly stepping-on-a-Lego bad news, but it’s not great. San Antonio keeps winning, and they’re still in the hunt for the 1 seed, though it’s becoming less likely. The longer this is a race, the lesser the chances are that the Spurs and Golden State Warriors will rest their stars against the Jazz in the last two games of the season.
The Meh News:
(9) Trail Blazers 110 New York Knicks 95
The Blazers kept their hopes for the playoffs alive behind playing the Knicks and a 30pt night from former Weber State star Damian Lillard.
(e) Phoenix Suns 98 Brooklyn Nets 126
If you start the youngest lineup in the league, you’re gonna have a bad time more often than not. It will be interesting to see how Phoenix’s young talent pans out over the next few years.
(8) Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers (Go . . . Pacers?)
(e) Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics (Go Phoenix, because the Celtics losing = Hayward staying, right?)
(11) New Orleans Pelicans vs. (3) Houston Rockets (Go Pelicans!)
(12) Minnesota Timberwolves vs. (e) Los Angeles Lakers (Go Peskies, because I will never root for the Lakers)
(13) Sacramento Kings vs. (1) Golden State Warriors (Go #Kangz, even though a Dubs win probably helps us more)