With seven days left in the NBA season, the Western Conference shakeout began in earnest. Portland, Denver, Houston, and Utah maintained status quo with big wins. But that meant teams in the lower playoff seeds got some bad news.
Nuggets 113, Spurs 85
Blazers 116, Grizzlies 89
Rockets 135, Clippers 103
Jazz 118, Suns 97
Golden State still has a 1.5-game lead for the first seed. So we’ll ignore them. Otherwise, nothing changed among the upper seeds Wednesday: The gap between the 2 and 3 seeds is still 1.5 games, with Portland right behind them.
2. Nuggets: 52-26
3. Rockets: 51-28 (1.5 games back)
4. Blazers: 50-28 (2 games back)
5. Jazz: 48-30 (4 games back)
The big news: Due to Wednesday’s results, the Spurs, Clippers, and OKC can no longer catch the Blazers in the standings. They can now prepare to start the first round on the road. They’re also eliminated for purposes of these updates, other than as possible opponents.
Warriors at Lakers | 7:30 pm, TNT
Knicks at Rockets | 5:00 pm PT
Kings (on a B2B) at Jazz | 6:00 pm PT
Blazers at Nuggets | 7:30 pm PT, ESPN
What Can Happen Friday
Portland can gain ground with a huge win, but Houston can gain ground regardless of the POR/DEN result. If Portland loses, Houston can increase their lead over the Blazers with a win. If Portland wins, Houston can pull within 0.5 games of 2nd-seed Denver with a win. But Portland would be just 0.5 games behind them.
Also, if Portland loses, they’ll need to keep an eye on the Jazz: They’re at home, playing the Kings who are on the second half of a back-to-back, after playing Cleveland at home the night before.
There’s a lot on the line Friday night.
Portland Trail Blazers:
at Denver Nuggets (Apr 5)
vs. Denver Nuggets (Apr 7)
at Los Angeles Lakers (Apr 9)
vs. Sacramento Kings (Apr 10, B2B)
vs. Sacramento Kings (Apr 5)
at Los Angeles Lakers (Apr 7)
vs. Denver Nuggets (Apr 9)
at Los Angeles Clippers (Apr 10, B2B)