Playoffs Snapshot — April 12

Here’s a look at some of the more important playoff implications in Friday night’s games:

LAKERS (vs. Golden State, 10:30 p.m. ET, League Pass): With the battle for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference down to the final three games, the Lakers (42-37) face a Golden State team that is currently seeded sixth, just a half-game up on the Rockets … A Lakers win and a Jazz loss to the Timberwolves would put L.A. up two games with two to play … Kobe Bryant scored 47 points while playing all 48 minutes in Wednesday night’s 113-106 win in Portland … The Lakers are up 2-1 in the season series.

JAZZ (vs. Minnesota, 9:30 p.m. ET, League Pass): The Jazz (41-38) have lost control of the race with the Lakers for the No. 8 seed and can’t lose focus in the first of consecutive games against the wounded Timberwolves … Utah leads season series 2-0 … Utah needs to win out and hope for an L.A. loss … A short bench missing Enes Kanter, Marvin Williams and Alec Burks was costly in Wednesday night’s loss to OKC … This could be the final home game for Jazz free-agents-to-be Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.

THUNDER (at Portland, 10 p.m. ET, NBA TV): Thunder (58-21) show no inclination to take their foot off the pedal in the fight for No. 1 seed in the West … Holding tie-breaker over the Spurs, they now control the race … After whipping the Warriors on Thursday night — and getting plenty of rest for the starters — OKC wraps up a back-to-back and closes out road schedule … Thunder are 3-0 against the Blazers this season, who went flat in a loss to the Lakers on Wednesday night … Three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant (28.3 ppg.) says he’s OK giving up title to Carmelo Anthony.

SPURS (vs. Sacramento, 8:30 ET, League Pass): Even if the Spurs (57-21) win out, they need OKC to stumble once to reclaim the top spot in the West … But do they really care? Tony Parker is in a tug o’ war with coach Gregg Popovich over whether he’ll play … Parker sat out Wednesday’s loss at Denver with a sore neck and other assorted ailments and Pop says that championship teams must be able to win on the road anyway … Boris Diaw’s back injury puts DeJuan Blair back into the rotation and could slide Kawhi Leonard into minutes at power forward … They lead series with Kings 3-0.

CLIPPERS (at New Orleans, 8 p.m. ET, League Pass): With their first division title in franchise history wrapped up, the Clippers’ (52-26) work isn’t finished. With another 4-5 first round meeting against the Grizzlies looming, they’re one game back in the race for home-court advantage and have a key game at Memphis on Saturday night … The Hornets (27-52) have the second-worst record in the West and have lost No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis (sprained left knee, bone bruise) for the rest of the season … Clippers are 2-1 against the Hornets this season.

GRIZZLIES (at Houston, 8 p.m. ET, League Pass): The Grizzlies (53-25) don’t want to get caught looking ahead to Saturday night’s showdown with the Clippers that could decide home-court advantage in a possible 4-5 first round matchup … They have to deal with the opener of a back-to-back in a town that has been a black hole of despair. The Grizzlies have lost 13 straight in Houston dating to Nov. 25, 2006 … Memphis is also still chasing Denver (54-24) for the No. 3 seed … Jerryd Bayless and Darrell Arthur have both missed the last two games … The Rockets (44-34) clinched a playoff berth on Wednesday night, are currently the No. 7 seed and could catch the Warriors for sixth place … Memphis leads the season series 2-1.

WARRIORS (at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 ET, League Pass): With two losses in their last three games, the Warriors (45-34) are perilously close to losing the No. 6 seed to Houston. The lead is down to a half-game and the Rockets hold the tie-breaker … After losing center Andrew Bogut to a sprained ankle in the first quarter, Golden State was barely competitive in a 116-97 loss at home to OKC on Thursday night … Bogut is not expected to make the trip to L.A. … Stephen Curry is 17 made 3-pointers away from Ray Allen’s mark for most made in a season (269, in 2005-06). … Lakers lead the season series, 2-1

NUGGETS (at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. ET, League Pass): The Nuggets (54-24) once more have the longest win streak in the league at five in a row after Wednesday night’s 96-86 win over the Spurs set a new club record for home wins in a season (36) … Currently No. 3 in the West, catching San Antonio for the second place is highly unlikely, but they’ve got to keep an eye on the Grizzlies, who are just one game back … Point guard Ty Lawson remains day-to-day with a torn plantar fasciitis in his heel … Denver is 7-3 in its last 10 road games … The Mavericks will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

ROCKETS (vs. Memphis, 8 p.m. Eastern, League Pass): The Rockets (44-34) clinched a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 when they beat Phoenix on a goaltending call awarded to James Harden at the buzzer on Tuesday night … Currently sitting in seventh place in the West, now they have their sights set on catching Golden State for the No. 6 seed…They are only one-half game behind the Warriors and hold the tiebreaker … For the past seven seasons, the Rockets have been able to handle whatever the Grizzlies throw at them in Houston. They have a 13-game win streak over Memphis at the Toyota Center … The Grizzlies lead the season series 2-1.

PACERS (vs. Brooklyn, 7 p.m. ET, League Pass): This is a must win at home for the Pacers (49-29) to keep alive their fading hopes of catching the Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference … It would set up a nationally-televised showdown in New York on Sunday afternoon … Coach Frank Vogel has said he’ll chase every win to the end … The Nets lead the season series 2-0 and are pretty much locked into the No. 4 seed.

KNICKS (at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m. ET, League Pass): The Knicks (51-27) are looking to keep daylight between themselves and Indiana for the No. 2 seed in the East … New York’s 13-game win streak was snapped 118-111 in overtime at Chicago when Nate Robinson pumped in 35 points … Now the Knicks go right back another dangerous guard in Kyrie Irving … The Knicks lead the season series against the Cavs 2-0 and ended a 10-game losing skid at Quicken Loans Arena on March 4 … Carmelo Anthony (28.7 ppg.) is zeroing in on his first scoring title as he’s scored exactly 36 points in three straight games.

BULLS (at Toronto, 7 p.m. ET, League Pass): The Bulls, coming off their streak-busting win over New York on Thursday night, need to win to keep their half-game lead on Atlanta for the No. 5 seed… Chicago is 1-1 against the Raptors … If seeds hold, the Bulls get Brooklyn. They’re 3-1 against the Nets … If the Bulls slips to sixth and the top seeds hold, Chicago will have to play Indiana. The Bulls are just 1-3 against the Pacers … For what it’s worth, after Chicago snapped Miami’s 27-game win streak, the Bulls lost their next game, to Dallas.

HAWKS (vs. Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m. ET, League Pass): The Hawks are just a half-game behind Chicago for the fifth seed. It’s the difference (if the other seeds hold) between playing Indiana (currently the third seed) or Brooklyn (fourth) … The Bucks are set at No. 8. They have nothing to look forward to but a matchup against the best team in the league, Miami, in the first round.

13 Comments

  1. Watch the Floppers says:

    I can not believe that there are no comments about how the spurs took a flop to let L.A. win this game they did not play any better than a small high school team.

  2. Watch the Floppers says:

    I can not believe that there are no comments about how the spurs tooka flop to let L.A. win this game they did not play any better than a small haigh school team.

  3. Knicks fan says:

    I would rather see lakers play the first seed, than the jazz ….I think it would be a lot more interesting!!!! Wouldn’t you rather see the lakers get crushed in the playoff? Well maybe

  4. Das Aleman says:

    Even if the Lakers get to the playoffs, it doesn’t matter much. It will still be a rematch between OKC and the Heat for the Finals!

    Heat FTW!

  5. Dirty-D says:

    LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! LAKERS!

  6. James says:

    Can someone explain why Division winners get an automatic top 4 placing, but don’t get home advantage if the 5th team has a better record? Like what is the point in being guaranteed a top 4 placing without that home court advantage for the playoffs….ie Clippers and Grizzlies at the moment.

  7. Chris says:

    Ok fine. The lakers will claim the no. 8 seed however, they’ll get eliminated right away! Okc vs Lakers..? Come on!

  8. chandler says:

    lakers also have MILLIONS of haters who hope they crash and burn!

  9. LAKERFAN!!! says:

    LAKERS WILL WIN THERE NEXT 3 GAMES!

  10. Nick says:

    Let’s go Lakers! Please, you have literally MILLIONS of fans who hope that you can do this! C’mon Kobe inspire those twin whiners.