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What Wednesday’s games mean: Heat can lock up best record; Lakers need win

Apr 10, 2013, 2:17 PM EDT

New Orleans Hornets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

There is one week of NBA regular-season basketball left — next Wednesday, April 17 is the final day of games, then we get to focus on the playoffs. Right now teams are jockeying for playoff position — or in the case of the Lakers and Jazz a spot in the playoffs.

Which means a lot of games in the next week have implications. As a viewer’s guide, here are the potential impacts of Wednesday’s games.

Eastern Conference

Heat at Wizards: Miami’s magic number is one — one Heat win or one Spurs loss and they secure the best record overall in the NBA (they are currently 61-16). It might happen against the Wizards, although John Wall has Washington playing better of late. No Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh for Miami.

Hawks at Sixers: Atlanta would much rather face Brooklyn in the first round than Indiana, but to do that they need to catch the Bulls for the five seed. The Hawks win this game and they move into a virtual tie with Chicago for that spot. Lose and they need to look over their shoulder at the seven seed Celtics — 1.5 games back of Atlanta. The seven seed gets the Knicks in the first round and that would be trouble.

Nets at Celtics: If Boston can get a win here and get some help from the Sixers, they could move within half a game of the six seed. The Nets are pretty locked into the four seed, three games up on the five-seed Bulls. Still, wins help them secure that spot.

Western Conference

Lakers at Trail Blazers: This is a virtual must-win for the Lakers — win and they have a one-game lead over Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West; lose and they fall into a tie with the Jazz and Utah has the tiebreaker. The Lakers have nothing but games against playoff teams left, the Jazz have two against the Timberwolves. It’s a back-to-back and the Lakers still look shaky, but they need to find a way to win this.

Spurs at Nuggets: Denver is currently the three seed in the West, half a game up on Memphis. The Clippers look pretty locked into the four seed and can fall no lower as division champions. The team that is the three seed in the West gets Golden State in the first round (a young team that doesn’t play great defense), the five seed gets the Clippers (with Chris Paul and a deep roster). Win and they are a game up on Memphis, lose and they fall into a tie and make it possible even the Clippers could catch them.

Timberwolves at Clippers: The Clippers can be no lower than the four seed as division winners, but if the five seed (Memphis or Denver) has a better record the Clippers would still be the road team in the first round. Right now, the Clippers are 1.5 games back of the Grizzlies and two back of the Nuggets. Get a win and they are within a game of home court in the first round

  1. dirtydavis - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Lakers 2013 NBA Champs… You heard/read it here first

    • pl4tinum514 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      i’ll be absolutely shocked if the make the playoffs

    • HotHotHeat - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      @Dirty – You probably are the only one still saying this but you certainly weren’t the first.

      • dirtydavis - Apr 10, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        They’re going to win it, man! I had dream Lakers won the championship. You heard it hear first!!!

  2. joshstewart1994 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Reblogged this on Sports Talk.

    • slowclyde86 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Dude, seriously? Why would anyone leave this site—only to visit yours to read the same thing already on this very page? What is wrong with you?

      • joshstewart1994 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        its a blog… i re blogged the post, that is what you do on a blog, no harm done..

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        He also jacked the site’s name lol.

      • andrewproughcfe - Apr 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        @Josh – I like the first few stories on your blog – the ones that you wrote on your thoughts on the Man U vs Man City title race and on the Knicks game were interesting and thoughtful. You should continue to write original material, much better than just re-blogging the not-so-great writing on PFT and PBT.

  3. Sideline Mob - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    It’s probably just us being insane, but would anyone else here STILL really be interested in a Heat/Lakers NBA Finals matchup?

    • bucrightoff - Apr 10, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      Nah, 4 straight 115-95 blowouts aren’t really of interest to anyone. Anyone who’s a basketball fan wants San Antonio or OKC versus Miami, with Denver and the Clippers as alternates.

      • Sideline Mob - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        To be fair, one of our lead writers is a huge Lakers fan, and I think our interest in a Heat/Lakers series is watching his head explode in fury. Also, Denver vs. Miami has the better to be a better series than most would think.

    • mazblast - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      It doesn’t matter whether WE have any interest. What matters is whether David Stern wants it badly enough to “do his thing” to make it so. I think he’ll settle for getting the Lakers into the playoffs.

      • Sideline Mob - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        David Stern rigging the NBA playoffs? Stop it – next you’ll tell us he sent Ewing to the Knicks and Duncan to the Spurs or something. (Ha.)

  4. cantonbound13 - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Congratulations to the Heat on getting the top seed. The playoffs should be a lot of fun.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      Wait, what?

      • cantonbound13 - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        What? No hate Jimbo? I always give credit where credit is due. I give the Heat credit for obtaining the best record in a full season. Any time a team wins over 60 regular season games they do deserve respect.
        I just disagree with people on here that say they are the greatest team ever. People that say LeBron is the best ever. There still is a long way to go to prove that. I disagree most with the arrogant Heat fan that thinks they will not be challenged. I think the Pacers, Knicks, Spurs, Thunder or Nuggets can take them to 7 games or possibly beat them. After all, an old beaten up Celtic team took them to 7 games last year. Either way it will be a fun post season.

      • jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:59 PM

        I wouldn’t say you always give credit where it’s due but it’s nice to see you apparently turning over a new leaf. I’m as diehard of a Heat fan as you can get for someone who lives in Massachusetts and I just really don’t like saying greatest team ever for basketball as a sport because its a sport judged by quantity of rings as much as quality of them if you get what I’m saying. LeBron will never get his due credit until he has 6 or more rings because of all the jordan homers. That said, he is the best player in the league right now by far.

        In my opinion, the only team that could beat Miami in a seven game series is the Spurs. They have the talent, the coaching and experience to really frustrate the Heat. With all due respect, the rest of the those teams don’t stand a snow balls chance in hell of lasting 6 games, nevermind 7.

        Anyways, this post demonstrates you are a smart basketball fan. Please keep it up

  5. broncobeta - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    “Denver is currently the three seed in the West, half a game up on Memphis… Win and they are a game up on Memphis, lose and they fall into a tie and make it possible even the Clippers could catch them.”

    It’s technically a game and a half because they own the tie breaker with both Memphis and LA.

    • broncobeta - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Oh I forgot. Details are not important on this website.

  6. lakerluver - Apr 10, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Double D, my man, you must be smokin on some of that good Cali bud!! As a LAKERS fan, I sure hope you’re right, sir.
    Now, to more pressing issues. On this very site yesterday, the resident LAKER hater/numbskull who shall remain nameless (sounds like pudhummer53) in his usual uninformed, sophomoric, moronic rants against my LAKERS claimed that Pau Gasol’s trade value was at an all time low. Obviously, he didn’t have a clue of what he was talking about (shocking!). Considering this is the same dolt that said D12 would never be a LAKER, I should’ve immediately called B.S. Well, low and behold I discover that Pau is averaging 15, 9 and 5 on 56% from the field since his return. My point is, pudhummer53 is clueless and his ONLY purpose for being on here is to troll LAKER stories.

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      How right you are. Most haters seem to disregard all statistics and logic when making fun of Pau. Its not his fault at all he is coached by someone who has no grasp of post offense. Not only that, he has been plagued with injury and insecurity about where he will be the next day. Both factor into his “poor” play.
      I only wonder where these people were when Pau was slicing up there favorite teams’ big in a playoff game

    • fiyeaglesfiy - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Pau has a huge expiring contract. That’s very valuable to a lot of teams that hope to get the inside track to re-sign him for less the following year or free up cap space for the summer 2014 free agent class. Yes, $19 million is overpaying, but that’s essentially a one-year deal and gives teams much financial flexibility going forward. Not his best year, but he’s still one of the top big men in the league when healthy and utilized correctly.

      Only issue is for the Lakers to get value for Pau, they would have to take back longer term contracts, which they don’t want to do as they seem inclined to be players in next years free agency.

      • Kurt Helin - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:26 PM

        Well said.

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