Mar 11

Playoff Picture: March 11th

By sarahhecht Posted in: playoffs
It’s that time party people. The final push to the playoffs has arrived.

This time of year brings daily change and stomachs twisting in knots not just for the Trail Blazers, but at the movement of other teams in the Western Conference. There isn’t a night that goes by without games with playoff implications.

The daily jockeying for positioning is keeping us all on eggshells. It’s nerve-wracking, especially in the West. It’s downright nasty.

As of today there are seven teams within five and half games ranging from 5th place to 11th. These teams are all fighting for the final four spots in the Western Conference. (As a note, of the top four teams San Antonio, Dallas, LA Lakers and Oklahoma City, only San Antonio has clinched a playoff berth and positioning isn’t guaranteed.)

We’ll leave the top four alone for now and focus on the 5th-8th seeds. If all goes well we could be closing in on OKC for 4th, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Denver sits in 5th, Portland in 6th, New Orleans in 7th and Memphis is in 8th. Only one game separates the positioning of the Nuggets, Trail Blazers and Hornets.

Close on the tail of this pack are Phoenix, Utah and Houston who are all within five games of Portland.

Last night's scores and effects:

The Dallas Mavericks trounced the New York Knicks 109-127 in Dallas keeping them in 2nd place. Amar'e Stoudemire earned his 16th technical, which if you ask me was bogus, and today it was rescinded by the league. Remember, 16 technicals means an automatic one-game suspension.

The Denver Nuggets topped the Phoenix Suns 116-97 in Phoenix giving them a 1/2 game lead over Portland. Denver dominated the Suns from start to finish. Missing Channing Frye isn't good for the playoff hopes of Phoenix fans.

Tonight’s games with Western Conference potential playoff teams:

Portland Trail Blazers @ Charlotte Bobcats. The Trail Blazers need this win tonight to move into a tie for the 5th seed with Denver. (With a tie we’d move to a tie breaker. The season series is tied at 2-2 so the tie breaker becomes Division record, which Denver wins, but just barely.)

Utah Jazz @ Minnesota Timberwolves. A win by Utah moves them ahead of Phoenix and into 9th. Utah should win this game as the Timberwolves are last in the Western Conference and have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Detroit Pistons @ Oklahoma City Thunder. A win or loss by OKC keeps them solidly planted in the 4th seed.

Sacramento Kings @ San Antonio Spurs. A win or loss by San Antonio keeps them in the first position in the Western Conference.

Did any games from last night surprise you? Which match-ups are you eager for tonight?


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