Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):
|8:00 PM||Washington Wizards||Chicago Bulls||Bulls|
|8:00 PM||New Orleans Hornets||Dallas Mavericks||Mavericks|
|8:00 PM||Phoenix Suns||Denver Nuggets||Nuggets|
|8:00 PM||Philadelphia 76ers||Indiana Pacers||76ers|
|8:00 PM||Orlando Magic||Miami Heat||Heat|
|8:00 PM||Detroit Pistons||Brooklyn Nets||Nets|
|8:00 PM||Atlanta Hawks||New York Knicks||Knicks|
|8:00 PM||Minnesota Timberwolves||San Antonio Spurs||Timberwolves|
|8:00 PM||Milwaukee Bucks||Oklahoma City Thunder||Thunder|
|8:00 PM||Boston Celtics||Toronto Raptors||Celtics|
|8:00 PM||Utah Jazz||Memphis Grizzlies||Jazz|
|8:00 PM||Cleveland Cavaliers||Charlotte Bobcats||Bobcats|
|10:30 PM||Houston Rockets||Los Angeles Lakers||Lakers|
|10:30 PM||Golden State Warriors||Portland Trail Blazers||Warriors|
|10:30 PM||Los Angeles Clippers||Sacramento Kings||Clippers|
The Los Angeles Lakers will have an opportunity to fulfill Kobe Bryant’s promise of a playoff appearance when they host the Houston Rockets in today’s NBA Game of the Day. It is fitting that this game, which will ultimately determine the eighth—and final—seed of the Western Conference playoffs, is the game that will likely close the 2012-2013 season. This will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Lakers and the Rockets. The home team won each of the first three meetings. Houston leads the season series 2-1 and can win the season series over the Lakers for the second straight year with a victory tonight.
The Lakers (44-37) currently sit in eighth-place in the West, one game behind the Rockets (45-36), and control their own playoff destiny. Simply, if Los Angeles wins, the Lakers are in the playoffs. And since Los Angeles would own the tiebreaker over Houston (record against Western Conference opponents) in that scenario, the Lakers would earn the seventh seed and would open the postseason against the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs this weekend. Really simple isn’t it; win and you’re in.
However, if the Lakers fall to the Rockets, Los Angeles could be in our out depending on what happens in the Utah Jazz-Memphis Grizzlies matchup, which would likely be over before the Rockets-Lakers matchup tips off. If Utah defeats Memphis, the Lakers would have to beat Houston to make it to the postseason.
If the Jazz win and the Lakers lose, Utah and Los Angeles would end the season with identical 44-38 records. Since Utah won the season series 2-1, the Jazz would leapfrog the Lakers and take over the eighth seed and Los Angeles would fall to ninth and miss the playoffs altogether. However, if the Jazz fall to the Grizzlies, the Lakers will definitely make the postseason and will be either the seventh (if they defeat the Rockets) or eighth (if they lose to the Rockets) seed in the 2013 Western Conference Playoffs.
Basically, if the Lakers win, they will earn the seventh seed and open the postseason against the San Antonio Spurs. If they lose they would either hold onto eighth place—and face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round—or fall out of the playoffs altogether.
Houston’s playoff scenarios, though they do not risk falling out altogether, are even more complicated than the Lakers’. The Rockets, who trail the sixth-place Golden State Warriors by a single game, can move up to the sixth seed if they defeat the Lakers and the Warriors drop a road game to the Portland Trail Blazers. In that scenario Houston and Golden State would both finish the season at 46-36, and since the Rockets won the season series between the two teams three games to one, Houston would move ahead of the Warriors to claim the sixth seed and would face either the Denver Nuggets or Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.
If both Houston and Golden State win, the Rockets would maintain seventh-place and would open the playoffs in San Antonio against the Spurs. If the Rockets fall to the Lakers, Houston would drop to eighth and James Harden and the Rockets would open the playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder this weekend.
Basically, if the Rockets lose, they will fall down to eighth and Harden will open the 2013 NBA playoffs against the team that he helped reach the 2012 NBA Finals. If they win they would either hold onto seventh place—and face the San Antonio Spurs in the first round—or possibly move up to the sixth seed where they would open the playoffs against either the Denver Nuggets or the Los Angeles Clippers.
This game will ultimately determine whether it will be the Jazz, Lakers or Rockets that will face the defending Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder when the 2013 Western Conference Playoffs begin this weekend.
|Indiana Pacers||Boston Celtics||Celtics||Canceled|
|Toronto Raptors 113||Atlanta Hawks 96||Hawks||Raptors|
|Portland Trail Blazers 77||Los Angeles Clippers 93||Clippers||Clippers|
Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 1-1
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Season: 765-449