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Playoff seeding roundup: Jazz win means playoff race will go to final games on final day

Apr 16, 2013, 2:02 AM EDT

Paul Millsap, Randy Foye, Derrick Favors, Marvin Williams AP

We’re going to be talking about who gets in the playoffs — and what seed they are going to be —down to the final games on the final day of the regular season.

It’s all because on Monday night the Utah Jazz beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, the struggling Suns upset the Rockets, and Golden State defeated a shorthanded San Antonio team.

And that doesn’t even get into the battle between the Clippers and Grizzlies for home court in the first round.

Let me try to explain this simply (but stay with me, it’s not simple): The games you need to watch on Wednesday are the Lakers vs. Rockets; Grizzlies vs. Jazz; Clippers at Sacramento; and Golden State vs. Portland. Here are the possible outcomes:

• If the Lakers beat the Rockets Wednesday, the Lakers are in and the Jazz are out of the playoffs no matter what they do. Also, with a win the Lakers leapfrog the Rockets (Los Angeles would have the tiebreaker) — the Lakers would be the seven seed, Houston the eight, Golden State the six seed.

• If the Rockets beat the Lakers, then the Jazz can claim the eight seed by beating the Grizzlies. Also, if the Rockets win and Golden State loses to Portland the Rockets would become the six seed, the Warriors the seven seed, and the Lakers or Jazz the eight seed.

• Denver, with a hard-fought 112-111win over Milwaukee,  just needs to beat Phoenix Wednesday to be the three seed. The win over the Bucks Monday secured home court in the first round for Denver (they are 37-3 there on the season) but they don’t know who they will face. If the Clippers lose another game the Nuggets are the three seed.

• We do know the Memphis Grizzlies are locked into the five seed thanks to Denver’s win and the Clippers being a division winner (meaning they can be no lower than a four seed). However, Memphis could still have a better record than the Clippers and have home court in the first round against Los Angeles. To do that the Grizzlies need to beat the Jazz (if Utah loses they are eliminated from the playoffs) and the Clippers would need to split their two remaining games — Tuesday in Portland, and at Sacramento Wednesday. If the Clippers win both, they have home court.

So, we’re all clear now, right?

At least in the West the top is now locked in. So at least something got settled Monday.

Oklahoma City played Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook against the Sacramento Kings and the result was a 104-95 win that locked up the top seed for the Thunder. They have home court through the West (Miami would have home court if they meet in the NBA finals again). That means the Spurs are the two seed, locked in.

Out East there is only one question: Is Chicago or Atlanta the five seed and will face the Nets in the first round? The loser in that race is the six seed and gets Indiana.

Atlanta can hold the five seed if they beat Toronto on Tuesday and the Knicks on Wednesday. But lose one of those games, and then if the Bulls can beat the Wizards, then the Bulls would get the five seed — the two teams would be tied but the Bulls have the tiebreak having won the season series. I can promise you the Nets and Pacers each would rather take on the Hawks than the scrappy, hard-to-knock-off Bulls.

  1. transam7816 - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    Is this too much to rig for the Lakers?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:14 AM

      Rig what? The Lakers still have to win. The only remote “external help” they can have is the fact that the Grizzlies still have something to play for (contrary to the conjecture spewed by the know-nothings on ABC/ESPN/TNT panels last week regarding that UTAH/MEM game), and therefore making that a tough game for the Jazz to win. It would have been tough for Utah to win even if the Grizzlies rested Randolph and probably Allen. They won’t now. The Lakers have too many things motivating them to even “need help” from Memphis or these supposed nefarious characters who you think are rigging things for the Lakers to make the playoffs.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 16, 2013 at 8:33 AM

        it’s okay, Mr Wright…Bigfoot told him it was all rigged…so transam is good to go…

    • slowclyde86 - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      I am genuinely curious: Do you honestly believe this garbage (i.e. the games are somehow rigged with Stern plotting out the winners and losers) or are you just trolling? Either scenario does not make you look intelligent. I am just curious.

    • kchristainsen - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      no its pretty simple. they lose and miss the playoffs. Then the real rigging begins when the lottery happens.

      • slowclyde86 - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        You mean so the Suns can get a better player with their pick in your scenario? Or is the league going to slide in an extra pick to the Lakers at the top of the draft with no one noticing, because, well, IT IS ALL RIGGED FOR THE LAKERS? Please stop the stupidity.

  2. lakerade - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    As a Lakers fan these prospects make the Achilles pill that much harder to swallow, but overall the West looks to have really promising basketball matchups across the board.

    OKC vs Harden? Yes please, even if it’s a sweep.

    The dueling high-octane offenses of the Nuggets and Warriors? Readysetgo!

    Even the likely 4-5 matchup, Memphis’ best defense in the league against the offensive maestro that is CP3 and his plethora of highlight finishers. Okay twist my arm!

    Too bad we don’t get to see throwback Kobe versus throwback Duncan as well, but the mosh pit that will be the West playoffs should be good theater. Hopefully it isn’t too grueling so as to leave the survivor a mere patsy for Miami after they waltz through the East.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:18 AM

      It should be tougher to deal with. If anything, it gives the Lakers a better chance at actually making it to the playoffs — motivating game at home against a running team, while the team you’re battling for the final spot now knows that they are facing a team desperate to gain homecourt — and on top of that, the only semi-favorable matchup the Lakers could have in the 1st Round is the Spurs, and that’s who they would have if they simply win, or back in due to a loss of their own and a loss by Utah.

      Beyond that, you never know. They could be inspired by 24, and if they beat the Spurs, they will have developed some continuity on both ends that they could potentially at LEAST push Denver to 6 or 7 games. Not even sure they would be able to do more than that even with 24.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:18 AM

        *shouldn’t be.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:20 AM

      Yessir to everything you just said. Our Lakers aside, the one I’d most want to matchup with each other would be the Thunder vs. Rockets (Harden)!

      MEM vs. LAC is gonna be fun too.

      Out East the NYK vs. BOS could be promising, maybe. Sucks that so many players on both sides are injured though. Or even in general, this season was the year of big, key player injuries. Sucked a lot of fun out of what should have been one of the best NBA seasons ever. There’s injuries every year, I know, but this year was just awful IMO.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        Knicks are healthy. Boston will be lucky to win one game.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Knicks are 100%? So you mean to tell me all 20 of thier PFs and Marcus Camby are good to go? I’m not so sure about that.

      • infectorman - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        @Mr Wright….you’re wrong

  3. 00maltliquor - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Damm Jazz are a thorn in my azz! Just roll over already, nobody outside of Salt Lake wants to see you guys play past regular season anyways! LOL, nah I’m just messin’, the competitions great………

  4. thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Gotta hand it to them, they are making this interesting. I expected nothing less than a dog fight entering Wednesdays final game. All LAKER fans hoping Utah rolls over are kidding themselves.

    • shuttaman1990 - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Utah will not roll, they will faint and stay there.
      Flabby and sick Utah, hahahaha!

      -Shuttaman.

  5. shuttaman1990 - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Well looks like its coming down to the final games of the season ladies and gentlemen.
    High stakes for both the Rockets and the Lakers. Rockets have to win to escape OKC, while the Lakers have to win to put a dagger into Utah(lol utah LOL HAHAHAHAHAHA), and to be able to escape OKC in order to face the low aged out of sync spurs and their old coach poop avich.

    Well ladies and gentlemen, wednesday will be full of surprises! I’ll be sure to have my blanket and cookies and popcorn ready(you know since its like near my bedtime when they play)

    GOOO LAKERS!!!!
    DO IT FOR KOBE
    DO IT FOR THE PLAYOFFS
    DO IT FOR BUSS

  6. scalfor3 - Apr 16, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    I would love to see Harden have a huge night that winds up keeping LA out of the playoffs. Get some revenge for that cheap shot artest gave him last year.

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