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Tuesday’s key games: Jazz vs. Suns, Celtics seek home court

Apr 24, 2012, 1:15 PM EDT

Alvin Gentry, Steve Nash AP

The playoff picture is coming into focus, and by the end of Tuesday night we may have a better picture. Or, we may not. But we’ll know a few more things about how the picture will clear up. Trust me, that makes sense.

Here are the games that matter Tuesday night.

Phoenix at Utah: This is for the eighth seed in the West. And the right to get steamrolled by the Spurs. But still, you get your ticket punched for the dance. If Utah wins this game they are in. If Phoenix wins the two teams are tied but the Suns will have the tiebreaker — their magic number will be one and either they will have to beat the Spurs Wednesday or they need the Trail Blazers to beat the Jazz on Thursday.

Phoenix has won both meetings this season, but the Jazz are a much better home than road team. Steve Nash owned the Jazz on the pick-and-roll last meeting, the Jazz need to not let him control and dictate the flow.

Clippers at Hawks: Both teams need this win. For the visiting Clippers, if they win they are at least the four seed — which gives them home court in what would be the best first round series in either conference against the Grizzlies. A Clippers win also keeps their chances of getting the three seed and avoiding Memphis all together alive — they would need to beat the Knicks Wednesday and have the Lakers lose to the Kings Thursday. Not likely, but a win keeps that door open.

The Hawks are playing the Celtics in the first round, that is set. Right now the Hawks have a one-game lead for home court in that series (it doesn’t matter that the Celtics are the higher seed for wining their division) but the Celtics have the tiebreaker. A win doesn’t lock the Hawks into home court, but it could if Boston were to lose.

Heat at Celtics: I feel sorry for whoever paid good money for this game, because both teams will be resting a lot of key players — LeBron James, Ray Allen and the list will grow by gametime. This game means nothing to the Heat. For Boston it’s about home court. As mentioned above the Hawks and Celtics will play in the first round, right now the Hawks are one game up and would have home court. Boston has the tiebreak so if they win out they force the Hawks to win out to keep home court.

However, Doc Rivers has already said health matters more than home court. So expect to see your favorite Celtics reserves get big minutes.

  1. sunsbro - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Reallly on the fence about that Suns game. On one hand, I would love to see them make the playoffs again just to have a chance to make some noise, a la Golden State beating the Mavs a few years back. However, if they limp in, its going to be tough to watch potentially Nash’s last few games with the Suns be a sweep to Tim Duncan and the evil empire. But hey, you never know.

  2. phx1311 - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    I want to see the suns in the playoffs period!!!

  3. davidly - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Suns, Hawks, and Celts win tonight.

    • davidly - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      I want you – I want you
      I need you – I need you
      But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
      Now don’t be sad
      ‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad

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