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What all the games mean Wednesday: For Lakers, just win and you’re in

Apr 17, 2013, 10:43 AM EDT

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Just as David Stern planned (or at least wished for his final regular season finale as commissioner) the battle for playoff seedings — and maybe even a playoff spot — will come down to the final games on the final day of the regular season.

Which is tonight.

It’s going to make for some dramatic television.

There’s a lot to follow, especially in the Western Conference where five of the eight playoff spots could shift Wednesday night, so let’s break it all down. Stay with me here, this isn’t simple.

• Except for the Lakers it is simple — win and you’re in. More than that, win over the Rockets and you leapfrog them in the standings to the seven seed (the two teams would be tied but the Lakers have the tiebreaker), meaning the Lakers get the more desirable matchup with the Spurs in the first round and the Rockets can try to beat the Thunder.

• But the Rockets have something to play for Wednesday, too — if they win and the Golden State Warriors lose to Portland then the Rockets would jump up to the six seed and Golden State would be the seven. Plus, at the very least the Rockets want the seven and not the eight seed.

• Also if the Rockets beat the Lakers, the Jazz can knock the Lakers out of the eight seed if the Jazz can beat the Memphis Grizzlies on the road.

• But the Grizzlies are playing in hopes they can get home court — Memphis will be the five seed in the West but if they beat the Jazz and the Clippers fall to Sacramento in what could be the Kings final game ever in that city (so you know the fans will be out and loud) then the Grizzlies will have home court against the Clippers in the first round. (The Clippers cannot fall any lower than the four seed because they won the Pacific Division but if the five seed Grizzlies have the better record then the Grizzlies get home court. Don’t ask me why, those are just the rules.)

• The Clippers will be motivated because if they win and the Denver Nuggets lose then the Clippers jump up to the three seed. Even if Denver wins, the Clippers need to win to keep home court in the first round.

• The Denver Nuggets also have it pretty simple — win at home against the lowly Suns and they are the three seed. If Denver loses they need the Clippers to lose to get the three seed.

• Houston at the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers at Sacramento, and Golden State at Portland all tip off at 10:30 ET tonight, so this is not all going to get decided until late in the night.

• One race is still alive in the Eastern Conference — the battle for the five/six seed between Atlanta and Chicago. After the Hawks loss on Tuesday they are tied but the Bulls have the tiebreaker (they won the season series). So if Chicago beats the Wizards at home, they get the five seed and face Brooklyn in the first round, Atlanta would be sixth and face Indiana. But if the Bulls lose and the Hawks can beat a Knicks team likely to be resting a lot of guys, then the Hawks are the five seed.

The teams watching that game with the most interest? The Nets and Pacers. Both would much rather face the Hawks than the scrappy, physical, defensive-minded Bulls in the first round.

  1. asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Go Lakers!

    • mydoghasfleez - Apr 17, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      Big Yawn

  2. shuttaman1990 - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Lakers leggo!
    Respect our Gangsta!
    Yall fools gon learn to kiss our rings! BOW DOWN!

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Im a huge LAKER fan but the number of rings the organization has means nothing in tonights game.

      • shuttaman1990 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        Tonights game?
        What?
        That game that we will win?
        Yeah I guess not.
        I’M TALKING ABOUT THE PLAYOFFS AND HOW THE LAKER WILL GET THEIR 17TH RING SO ALL THEM FOOLS CAN BOW DOWN AND KISS IT!

  3. patfic15 - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Lakers will make it in due to the improved chemistry the team can now enjoy knowing that there’s more shots for everyone to go around. Losing Kobe isn’t a bad thing. I’ll miss his insistence when it comes who gets the ball in crunch time. Step it up Lakers!

  4. timb12 - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    This is why I love the NBA.

  5. slickdemetrius - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Congratulations, you explained in such a way that it all makes sense, which can be difficult for some writers to do. Thanks!

  6. remyje - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    shuttaman1990 was born in 1990 talking about kiss our rings.. shut up and go clean your room..

  7. bucrightoff - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Mark it down: The Lakers throw their game if Utah wins its game. A mericiful end to the season as opposed to the four 120-90 games awaiting in an OKC series.

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      Why would they throw it if Utah wins? All the LAKERS Need to do is win and they are 7th…not 8th meaning they play the Spurs. Know the scenerios kid

      • bucrightoff - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        Ok then, 4 straight 115-95 Spurs wins. Won’t matter either way, Lakers will have to stop Parker or Westbrook, and thats not happening. Lakers basically would get swept by any of the top 6 in the West. End the misery already.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        Didn’t the Lakers just beat the Spurs like 2 days ago? A game in which Tony Parker went 1-10 from the field, with 4 points and 4 turnovers and was handily outplayed by Steve Blake? Would the Spurs beat the Lakers in a 7 game series? Most likely, but to say it will be a blowout is a bit of a ridiculous statement. The Lakers have some fight in them, and they have some great players. It would be a fun series, especially if Jordan Hill came back.

      • Kurt Helin - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        Yes, there is a great chance Steve Blake can outplay Tony Parker on a regular basis…

        Do not ever mistake regular season results as something that predicts the postseason well.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        Also, you ALWAYS play to win the game.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Clearly Tony Parker is a better player than Steve Blake, and I never said Steve Blake could or would outplay him on a regular basis. But to say the Spurs would blow out the Lakers in 4 straight games is hyperbole and not based in the reality that the Lakers have the players to hang in there and make it at least a tough series, even if they likely lose.

      • bucrightoff - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Laker fans, delusional to the end. I expect every last one of you to comment on the article of their elimination and not hide like cowards. Your 70 win team is the worst disaster in sports history, you better be here to take what you deserve.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        How is saying that they likely lose delusional?

      • bucrightoff - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Because suddenly, a team that even with one of the 10-15 best players ever wasn’t going to win a series, is going to be able to hang tough and give a team built for the playoffs a run for its money without that player? There’s hope, which is based in reality (like the Lakers had a chance with Kobe) and delusion, which is suggesting you have a chance without him. The Lakers will get roasted by top PGs (last two pre Kobe injuries saw Lillard and Curry score a combine 85).

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        Speaking in absolutes is an easy way to make yourself look silly. Do the Lakers have a chance? If they make it, then yes, because every team in the playoffs has a chance. Would they win? Most likely not, the Spurs are a better team, they are healthier, they have a deeper bench and they have a much better coach. You’re reading my posts the way you want to see them. My point is, to say the Spurs would blow out the Lakers in 4 straight games is hyperbole and not based in reality. The Lakers showed just two days ago that a guy like Steve Blake can go off, that even MVP quality players like Tony Parker can have an off night and that anything can happen. Whether you like them or not, the Lakers still have two guys in Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol that are good enough to win you a game every once in a while. If the Lakers make the playoffs, no matter who they match up against, I will be choosing the other team in my pick ems.

      • bucrightoff - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        I suppose it is also easier to hold out hope in the most hopeless situations when the commissioner of the sport is on your side. I actually wanna see the Lakers get to 200 FTs in one series, and its possible when they can get 50 in a game.

      • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        You really love the word “delusional” huh? You do realize the entire point of being a “sports fan” is to be delusional. You always want YOUR team to win regardless of whether they are speaking with realistic expectations. LAKER fans are not being delusional, they are being hopeful, which is a completely normal thing to be when your team is up against it.
        Also, do you honestly believe the LAKERS are being helped by the NBA to get into the playoffs? Because if so, why are you still watching the NBA? It can’t be any fun to watch rigged games when you KNOW they are being rigged, however to answer your question about free throws, 200 is entirely possible, due to the fact DWIGHT HOWARD is on the LAKERS. If you knew anything, he shoots the most FT’s in NBA by a large margin, and if they play the Spurs that may be a possibility because Pop has already shown he is willing to use Hack-A-Dwight to gain extra possessions.
        Do you REALLY think the NBA wants to see Dwight shoot bricks in hopes they get wins that way? Now that Kobe is gone, Pau and Dwight will be the only ones shooting large numbers of free throws, which would be expected because they are POST players, which in case you were unaware is where the majority of FOULS occur.
        I apologize to anyone annoyed by use of CAPS, but it seems the game of basketball is a tough thing to understand for out friend bucrightoff, so anything that makes it easier to understand is always helpful.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:14 PM

        we should just call Bucrightoff , “chalk”…because according to him, upsets never happen. hey, i’m not saying the Lakers will win…that is an extreme uphill battle but I’m not and most fans will not buy into your futile attitude, which is understandable because you don’t like the Lakers…fine, really don’t give a darn. but don’t think they (Laker fans) are delusional. delusional is for Magic fans to think they will make the playoffs soon. that is delusional, junior. end the misery? dude, who truly expects things to turn out roses every season? can fans be optimistic? absolutely. i actually enjoy watching the games…instead of guys like you who just peak at the standings…to me, i get at least 4 more chances at Laker games.

      • bucrightoff - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        Yes, and flashback 8 months ago and had I said the Lakers wouldn’t play more than 4 playoff games, you and other Laker fans would rip me the shreds. Well here we are, and thats reality, and for those of of us who had to put up with Laker fans crowning themselves in August, of the talk that LeBron was a fraud and won an asterisk title and still wasn’t in Kobe’s league (and really, how insanely dumb does this look now?), blah, blah blah.

        So yes, many of us who had to deal with the most pompous, arrogant fanbase (if you can even call them fans, you know, show up 30 minutes late and leave 30 mintues early isn’t what most of us would call fans, but it is LA I guess?) running their mouths on the things they WOULD do are more than thrilled to point out the things the Lakers DID. And in about 2 weeks you can start talking about what you’ll do in 2014, and we’ll have to wait 6-12 months to be in this same position again.

        Proceed talking about 16 rings.

      • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        SOME LAKER fans are like that. Not all. Personally I have watched and loved the LAKERS since ’96. Feel free to call SOME LAKER fans arrogant and pompous, but don’t make it a blanket statement.
        Every major franchise has bandwagon fans (ie LAKERS, Knicks, Boston, Miami) that run their mouths. Personally, I was just happy to be rid of Bynum and hopefully have the chance to get back to finals before Kobe retired.
        Believe it or not, their are a lot of LAKER fans who watch every game, start to finish and don’t use past championships as a measure (except when arguing with Celtic fans) of ultimate power.
        Chill with the anger towards ALL LAKER fans, because not all of them are “delusional” like you seem to love calling us.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Proceed to complain about the Lakers shooting lots of free throws and ignore the fact this is their biggest weakness.

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      The spurs are far less dangerous than the Thunder. Parker has been a different player since his ankle/ neck injuries and he is much less lethal than Westbrooke 1 on 1. This is certainly not a walk over for the Spurs considering the past few years of playoff exits. Dont let your hatred for the LAKERS to cloud your judgement on this series. They will play almost the same roster they beat last sunday so I not convinced on your ability to see the future

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      I couldn’t agree more. The PLAYOFFS are much different than the regular season. I also would not bet on TP or Kawhi Leonard playing that badly again or for multiple games. However, by completely disregarding any chance for the LAKERS to get a win or maybe two is ignorant and fueled by anger, which is no way to choose playoff picks.
      Side note, Steve Blake will not get the upper hand on TP again, considering his recent 23 point effort was his first since 2010…It would seem more likely he will score somewhere between 10 to 15.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        Steve Blake has been playing well this year, but as a backup. I’m not confident in him keeping up his level of play if he’s thrust into starter’s minutes for a whole series.

      • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        I agree. Certainly the best in a LAKER uniform, although his lack of consistent perimeter D will hurt. Hopefully Steve Nash can come back, and give them a boost, which would really help with shooting and some good offensive play making.

  8. melkipershero - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    If the Lakers had a coach who believed in a post game they would be more dangerous in the playoffs without Kobe. Mike D is a fool though. Theyll make it in because the NBA wants them in.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      You were doing so well until that last sentence.

  9. daniel10017 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    The author missed a very critical point regarding the Lakers potential seeding: They could actually grab the 6th seed by Utah Losing, The Lakers beating the Rockets (Hence the 7th seed) AND if Golden State beats Portland in Portland tonight. That would clinch the 6th seed for the Lakers.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      No they cannot. If the Lakers win they will have 45 wins on the season, the Warriors already have 46. The Lakers can go no higher than 7. (The chance to get to 6 required the Warriors to lose to the Spurs the other day, they didn’t.)

      • HotHotHeat - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        You tell him Kurt!

        Author 1
        Commenter 0

  10. asublimeday - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Uh…go bulls, even though this is somehow a lakers thread again.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      sorry, man. between the trolls and fans, they run the joint.

      yeah, it would be nice to see the Bulls do a deep run. i feel though, the Rose injury dramatically shortened their “title window”…

      • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        Their window will open again, once D rose returns. That will also give Miami a road block which they don’t really have right now. (Pacer and Knicks should be, but are not)

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        It really depends. Their title window may still be open- they have a good amount of cap space coming up soon. Playing with a superstar in Rose in a major market on a team with a great history is going to be pretty appealing to free agents.

  11. 4thquartermagic - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    GO ROCKETS!

    – signed every other NBA team

  12. mazblast - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    The Lakers will win and make the playoffs. This has been willed where what is willed must be–David Stern’s office.

    Come ON, people, do you REALLY think The Troll wants small-market Utah in the playoffs, when he can have what passes for the Lakers there, getting much higher ratings, having “celebrities” at courtside, and most importantly selling more “stuff”?

  13. jerrybussrightfulheir - Apr 17, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    At least no one can say the refs were against the Jazz tonight, they got 26 free throws. Unfortunately they shot under 33% from the field. One less thing for Laker Haters to complain about. Hopefully Lakers take care of business fair and square without giving conspiracy theorists something new to whinge about.

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