Mar 14

Playoff Picture: March 14th

By sarahhecht Posted in: playoffs
Another hefty load of games on the docket for tonight. Seven of them include potential Western Conference playoff teams. With the Trail Blazers taking a break today which games will you be paying attention to?

If you’re watching a ton of basketball (like me) and the standings, then this is the time of year when playoff seedings can get frustrating. Many teams have played a different number of games and that has an effect on the winning percentage calculation that's used to determine standings. I find the games back stat much more helpful in determining how teams actually stack up, using the winning percentage at the very end.

Which stat do you prefer? Which one makes the most sense to you?

Last night's scores and effects:

The  Oklahoma City Thunder dominated the  Cleveland Cavaliers 95-75 in Cleveland, as expected. The win by Oklahoma keeps them firmly in 4th. The Lakers are four games ahead of them in 3rd and the Nuggets are three and a half games behind them in 5th.

The  Orlando Magic defeated the  Phoenix Suns 111-88 in Phoenix. The loss will moved Utah within half a game of Phoenix and the 9th spot. It also widened the gap between Phoenix and Memphis for the final playoff spot to a game and a half.

Tonight’s games with Western Conference potential playoff teams:

  Oklahoma City Thunder (42-23) vs.  Washington Wizards (16-48)
This should be another easy win for the Thunder. Win or lose they remain in 4th in the West. The Cavs currently sit in last place in the East.

 San Antonio Spurs (54-12) vs.  Miami Heat (45-21) on ESPN
This should be a good game to watch. A win or loss for either team won’t change playoff seeding. San Antonio will stay in 1st in the West and Miami in 3rd in the East. Let’s hope the Spurs don’t bring any bats with them to Miami. I’m still amazed that they have bats in their arena...

  LA Clippers (26-41) vs.  Memphis Grizzlies (36-31) This is a game to watch for Trail Blazers fans. A win for the Clips would widen the gap between the Trail Blazers in 7th and the Grizz in 8th to two full games. The more the teams behind us falter, the better off we are. I’m rooting for Blake Griffin and the Clippers in this one.

  Denver Nuggets (39-27) vs.  New Orleans Hornets (39-29) This is another game with big implications in the playoff standings. A New Orleans win will bring the two into a tie for 5th in the games back category and leaves the Hornets just barely behind the Nuggets in winning percentage. This skew is due to the difference in the number of games each team has played, New Orleans has played two more. The Nuggets are currently in 5th and one game ahead of the Hornets in 6th. If the Hornets win they’ll both be a game and a half ahead of the Trail Blazers. A loss for New Orleans will bring the Trail Blazers to within half a game, which we could pick up tomorrow with a win over the Mavs.

 Phoenix Suns (33-31) vs.  Houston Rockets (33-34) The 9th, 10th and 11th seeds in the West are where things get messy. All of the teams are within a game and a half of each other and all of them play tonight. A win for Phoenix widens the gap and keeps the Suns in the 9th seed and just out of the playoffs. If Houston wins and the Utah Jazz lose they’ll be in a tie for 9th and only a half a game behind Phoenix. If Houston wins and Utah does too all the seedings will remain the same.

  Philadelphia 76ers (34-32) vs.  Utah Jazz (34-33) This game has movement implications for the Jazz. A win has the potential to tie them with the Suns in the games back category if Phoenix loses, while a loss could leave them in a tie for 10th if the Houston Rockets win.

  Orlando Magic (42-25) vs.  LA Lakers (47-20) on ESPN This should be a fun battle to watch. A win for Orlando keeps them in 4th seed in the East and the Lakers in the 3rd seed in the East. A win for the Lakers brings the Lakers even with the Dallas Mavericks in the games back category and leaves them just barely behind them in winning percentage. This skew is due to the difference in the number of games each team has played, LA has played two more.

Here are the playoff match-ups as of today.

(Tables courtesy of


  1. Sarah:
    It sounds like if we beat the Mavs tomorrow night that LAL could over take them in the standings. That give Dallas more of an incentive to win. IMO, LAL's will overtake the Mavs anyway, just a matter of which game. We have problems with teams that have dominant bigs therefore, since I don't think Dallas has an abundance of bigs, we should be OK tomorrow against Dallas, can't wait.

    by Hg on 3/14/2011 8:59 AM
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