Playoff Picture: March 12th
By sarahhecht Posted in: playoffs
Well... last night didn’t go as planned. The loss to the Bobcats moved the Trail Blazers a full game behind the Nuggets in the playoff race. We’re still in the 6th spot in the Western Conference, but seeding is as tight as ever.
The good news is the Jazz lost last night too, so they didn’t gain any ground on us.
There are a few games today that could result in a gain or loss in the standings for the Trail Blazers.
Here are the potential scenarios for movement:
- A Portland win with a Denver loss results in a tie for 5th
- A Portland loss with a New Orleans win results in the Trail Blazers dropping to 7th and the Hornets jumping to 6th
The West is a mangled mess with a close race. Every game makes a difference (well, almost every game.)
Let’s get to work.
Last night's scores and effects:
The Portland Trail Blazers fell to the Charlotte Bobcats 92-97
in Charlotte. The loss keeps the Trail Blazers in the 6th seed and drops us to a full game behind Denver in the 5th seed. The shocking loss also brought New Orleans closer to jumping us in the standings.
The Utah Jazz were spanked by the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-122
in Minnesota. With the loss Utah remains in the 10th spot and falls to two full games behind Memphis in the 8th seed. Kevin Love recorded yet another double-double (shocker!) but the Timberwolves have already been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Detroit Pistons lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 94-104
in Oklahoma City. The win for OKC keeps them solidly planted in the 4th seed. This game wasn’t as cut and dry as it may seem. The Pistons controlled the game handily until the 3rd quarter when Kevin Durant and James Hardin went off and carried the Thunder to the win.
The Sacramento Kings were downed by the San Antonio Spurs 103-108
in San Antonio. So... there was a bat in the arena. Random. This game was much closer than anticipated and means absolutely nothing. The Spurs are still in first and the Kings are still in last.
Tonight’s games with Western Conference potential playoff teams:
Memphis Grizzlies (36-30) vs. Miami Heat (44-21)
The Grizzlies currently sit in the 8th seed in the Western Conference with Phoenix knocking on the door and only one and a half games behind them. Miami is coming off a big win over the Lakers and the Grizzlies are coming off a narrow loss to the Knicks. With Miami being such a roller coaster team as of late, I’m not going to venture a prediction on this one. I’ll just say that Memphis really needs this win, while Miami clinched a playoff berth with their most recent victory. Portland fans should root for the Heat to help widen the gap between us an the Grizz, but... yeah.
Portland Trail Blazers (37-28) vs. Atlanta Hawks (37-28)
Both teams are on the second night of back-to-backs and both teams lost last night. The Trail Blazers fell to the Bobcats and the Hawks to the Bulls. Last nights losses didn’t move either team in their conference standings. Portland is 6th in the West and Atlanta is 5th in the East. This match-up is more important for the Trail Blazers as the playoff race in the West is much tighter than the East. A loss by the Trail Blazers could drop us to 7th if the Hornets prevail over the Kings. The bottom half of the Western Conference is a scary place to be. This game will be a battle to the end. What do you predict?
Utah Jazz (34-32) vs. Chicago Bulls (46-18)
A win for Utah will keep them in the 10th spot in the West and still out of the playoffs. A loss has potential to hurt them greatly, especially in the event of a Houston win, which would leave the two tied in the Win/Loss column. A win for Chicago would move them into a tie for 1st in the East following Boston’s loss last night to Philadelphia. I’m thinking Derrick Rose and the Bulls won’t have a problem putting the Jazz to bed after their demoralizing loss to the Timberwolves last night. Again, both teams will be on the second night of a back-to-back.
Sacramento Kings (15-47) vs. New Orleans Hornets (38-29)
Of all the games on this busy Saturday, this game has the most potential to affect the Trail Blazers. A win for the Hornets and a loss for the Trail Blazers would result in the Hornets jumping to 6th and the Trail Blazers dropping to 7th. A loss for New Orleans would keep them in the 7th seed. Sacramento has already been eliminated from playoff contention. Hornets star Chris Paul is expected to return after missing games due to a concussion he sustained last Sunday. If that’s the case I expect the Hornets to win making triumph over the Hawks even more crucial.
San Antonio Spurs (52-12) vs. Houston Rockets (33-33)
Well, normally I’d say this one is a no-brainer and a Spurs win for sure, but I’m apprehensive because the last game I saw the Spurs play was the beat down they received from the Lakers. This has my Spurs confidence shaken. That said, I’m not going to predict this one. The Rockets have a lot on the line. A win brings them closer to Utah, and if Utah loses they’re tied for 10th in the west and only one game out of 9th. A win or loss for the Spurs keeps them solidly in 1st in the West. Surprise, surprise.
LA Lakers (46-20) vs. Dallas Mavericks (47-18)
A win or loss for either team won’t have any effect on the standings. The Lakers will remain in 3rd and the Mavs will stay in 2nd. A Lakers win will bring them within 1/2 a game of the Mavs for second and could have implications for the final standings.
Detroit Pistons (23-43) vs. Denver Nuggets (38-27)
This is another game with implications for the Trail Blazers. A win will grow or maintain the Nuggets lead over the Trail Blazers, while a loss by the Nuggets and a win by the Trail Blazers would bring Denver and Portland back to a tie. (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.)
And last but not least, the playoff match-ups if they started today.
Thoughts or predictions for today? How do you like these match-ups?
(Tables courtesy of nba.com)