No surprise, the playoff race in the NBA Western Conference is just as tight as ever with no letting up in sight. Currently, the only difference between the fourth seed in the playoffs with home court advantage, and the 12th seed with nothing to play for but ping pong balls is a mere five games. This means that every single game is critical from this point on, especially for the Phoenix Suns who now occupy the 10th seed.
The Suns still have 17 games left to play, and not only will they have to earn a playoff spot by beating some very tough competition through the end of the regular season, they will also have to rely on some losses by the other teams currently ahead of them in the standings ... and last night, no such help was given.
Although the Suns didn't play last night, they still dropped from the 9th seed just yesterday due to no fault of their own. Inactivity alone was enough to lower the Suns in the Western Conference standings today after the other teams in the playoff hunt ran the table last night.
Here are the most recent games that mattered and an update on the current standings after the jump ...
Here are the most up-to-date standings courtesy of NBA.com:
Key Games Monday, March 26:
Head Coach Tyrone Corbin rolls dice by going very starter heavy again, Jazz win -- earn some rest hopefully. Big Al Jefferson went for 19 and 8, with 3 helpers, 2 steals and 1 block in 30 more minutes of action. Paul Millsap went 10/14 from the field, knocked down his only three point attempt on the way to a 24 points / 13 rebound night.
I'm not going to BEGIN to explain this. After two infuriating losses to teams that the normally should beat, the Nuggets turn in their best performance since the San Antonio game (March 4th) and beat the Chicago Bulls 108-91 at the United Center.
The Houston Rockets overcame a big first quarter deficit to come from behind to defeat the Sacramento Kings 113-106 in overtime. The Rockets got off to a putrid start trailing 24-8 at one point in the first quarter. However, Houston outscored the Kings 29-21 in the third and 14-7 in overtime to claim the victory.
No one is going to bestow praise upon the Clippers for dismantling a New Orleans team playing without Chris Kaman and Jason Smith (not to mention Eric Gordon and Emeka Okafor). But the Clippers did what they were supposed to do tonight, getting a win on their home floor against a non playoff team.
While yesterday was out of the Suns' hands, tonight will be a different story. The Suns will face the San Antonio Spurs at home in what will be a game with huge playoff implications. The San Antonio Spurs are currently in the 2nd seed, and while the Suns have virtually no chance of catching them, they have to win at home against their Western Conference rivals ... especially with only eight games left to play at home and nine games on the road ... ALL of them against Western Conference teams!
In addition to the Suns and the Spurs, tonight will also feature games from many other Western Conference teams in the playoff hunt, such as the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, OKC Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers. The standings will remain constantly in flux and are sure to change by tomorrow. Stay tuned ...