Playoff Picture: March 20th
By sarahhecht Posted in: playoffs
Success. The Trail Blazers have protected home court just like they needed too.
Now it’s time to go on a short road trip down to LA to take on the Lakers. (Did anyone else notice that the Clippers and the Lakers are both playing at home today? Weird.)
Portland’s lost both games against LA so far this season, BUT we haven’t faced them yet with our game changing addition of Gerald Wallace. Crash and a healthy Brandon Roy could prove to be game changers.
This is another important game for the Trail Blazers. Win or lose we remain in the 6th seed in the Western Conference, though a win will do wonders for Portland. Success over the Lakers would give the Trail Blazers a tie for 5th with the Denver Nuggets in winning percentage. Moving through the tie-breakers the Nuggets take us in the Division record category. So though we would remain in 6th, we’d be hot on the tails of the Nuggets in the 5th seed.
It was just announced by the Lakers that big-man Andrew Bynum has been suspended for his Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two against Michael Beasley of the Timberwolves on Friday night. Bynum is the player that collapsed Gerald Wallace’s lung with a nasty foul that sent him to the hospital last January. (Here’s video of the foul on Wallace
, it’s tough to watch and hear Wallace writhing in pain, so watch at your own risk.)
What are your predictions for tonight in Los Angeles?
Last night's scores and effects:
The Denver Nuggets fell to the Miami Heat 98-103
in Miami. This was a HUGE loss for the Nuggets. Denver remains in the 5th seed in the West, but their loss coupled with the Trail Blazers win closes the gap to only half a game. The Trail Blazers would tie the Nuggets in winning percentage with a win over the Lakers tonight. (Portland would still be behind Denver because Denver holds the Division record tie-breaker.)
The Indiana Pacers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 78-99
in Memphis. This was a huge win for Memphis. They kept their 8th seed and widened the gap with Utah in the 9th seed.
The Boston Celtics beat the New Orleans Hornets 89-85
in New Orleans. The Hornets lost some ground in their defeat by the Celtics, but the loss is great for the Trail Blazers who now lead the Hornets by a full game.
The Charlotte Bobcats were downed by the San Antonio Spurs 98-109
in San Antonio. The win for the Spurs keeps them in 1st in the Western Conference. I don’t think anyone will catch them at this point.
The Philadelphia 76ers were toppled by the Portland Trail Blazers 101-110
in Portland. This was a big win for the Trail Blazers. I know I’m sounding like a broken record after every win, but it’s true. Every single game matters in this tight Western Conference race. Portland remains in the 6th seed in the West, but their win coupled with the Nuggets loss closes the gap to only half a game.
Tonight’s games with Western Conference potential playoff teams:
Phoenix Suns (34-33) vs. LA Clippers (27-43)
The Suns are still sitting in the 11th spot in the West and out of the playoffs. This is a must win for them. A win paired with a Houston loss would move them into 10th and inch them closer to the final playoff berth. I’m rooting for Blake Griffin and the Clips in this one. The fewer teams on our tail, the happier I’ll be.
Utah Jazz (36-33) vs. Houston Rockets (36-34)
This is a game with movement implications for both teams. The winner of this match-up will nab 9th place in the West and move closer to Memphis in the 8th and final playoff seed.
Toronto Raptors (19-49) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (45-23)
A win or loss for the Thunder keeps them in the 4th seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently five full games ahead of Denver in 5th seed.
Golden State Warriors (30-39) vs. Dallas Mavericks (48-21)
Dallas needs to get a win tonight to stay close to the Lakers. A win for Dallas and a loss for the Lakers would bring the two back into a tie for 2nd in winning percentage in the Western Conference. (LA will keep 2nd based on the Division record tie-breaker.)
Portland Trail Blazers (40-29) vs. LA Lakers (49-20)
This is another must-win for the Trail Blazers. With a win Portland would tie Denver in winning percentage for the 5th seed in the West. (Portland would still be in 6th behind Denver because Denver holds the Division record tie-breaker.)
Here are the playoff match-ups as of today:
(Tables courtesy of NBA.com)