Regular Season Ends in East Bay
We expected a game with playoff-type intensity. Instead, Memphis decided to roll the dice in an attempt to avoid the L.A. Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. It left the Trail Blazers a bit surprised, a bit out of sync, but with plenty of energy to pick up win number 48 of the season.
With the win, the Trail Blazers locked up the sixth seed in the Western Conference race. Going into the final night of the regular season, that's about all we know. It's out of our hands now, and this will give Nate McMillan a chance to finally rest some regulars before the playoffs begin.
Last night's move by Lionel Hollins sparked a bit of a debate about how to go about getting that first-round matchup you want. McMillan has always believed that you simply win the games you can win and let the chips fall around you. Given the same opportunity, I don't think he would have taken the route Memphis did on this night. It might work out for them, but it's a gamble. They'll now try to lose tonight's game against the Clippers, and set up a first-round matchup against San Antonio.
The positive for the Trail Blazers last night, other than clinching the sixth seed, is that they kept their momentum going, clinched another season series with a playoff team, and got Rudy Fernandez back on track.
LaMarcus Aldridge recorded another double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, and only had to play 29 minutes. But, again, it was Rudy who we spent the most time talking about late in the game. In the three previous games he had gone 0-11 from behind the three point line, and had lost some confidence. In this one, he hit five of his six shots overall, and went four for five from long range.
The Blazers closed out the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter, and won it 102-89.
We're in Oakland now, and take on Golden State tonight in the final game of the regular season. This will be a chance for Portland to rest some key people, give some others a chance to play, and coast into the playoffs.
You don't need me to spend a lot of time previewing this game tonight, so let's just get to the scenarios that are in play tonight. We'll soon know where we'll be headed this weekend for the first two games of the playoffs.
Chicago clinches homecourt advantage throughout the NBA Playoffs with a Bulls win and Spurs loss.
San Antonio clinches homecourt advantage throughout the NBA Playoffs with a Spurs win and Bulls loss.
If Chicago and San Antonio finish tied, homecourt advantage throughout the NBA Playoffs will be determined by a random drawing by the league office.
All seeding determined
LA Lakers will be seeded:
- #2 if Lakers win OR Mavericks lose
- #3 if Lakers lose and Mavericks win
Dallas will be seeded:
- #2 if Mavericks win and Lakers lose
- #3 if Mavericks win and Lakers win OR if Mavericks lose and Thunder lose
- #4 if Mavericks lose and Thunder wins
Oklahoma City will be seeded:
- #3 if Thunder wins and Mavericks lose
- #4 if Thunder loses OR if Mavericks win
New Orleans will be seeded:
- #7 if Hornets win OR Grizzlies lose
- #8 if Hornets lose and Grizzlies win
Memphis will be seeded:
- #7 if Grizzlies win and Hornets lose
- #8 if Grizzlies lose OR Hornets win