How Monday’s games impact the playoff picture

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Sunday some things got settled — the Knicks locked themselves in the two seed in the East, for example — and now with 11 games on the slate for Monday night a few more things will get settled.

So here’s a rundown of what to watch for Monday night (all times listed are Eastern).

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Jazz at Timberwolves (8 p.m.): It’s very simple for the Jazz — win and you’re still alive. Lose and the Lakers get the final playoff spot. (If Utah wins they would still need to beat Memphis Wednesday and hope the Lakers lose to the Rockets. But first things first.)

Nuggets at Bucks, Grizzlies at Mavericks (both 8:00 p.m.): If Denver wins they will have home court advantage in the first round (where they are 37-3 this season). A Memphis loss also means Denver is home in the first round. A Denver win puts pressure on the Clippers to win Tuesday or Denver locks into the three seed (meaning Clippers/Grizzlies in the first round). Memphis is currently the five seed and is tied with the Clippers (the four seed), but Los Angeles has the tiebreaker. If Memphis wants home court in the first round they need wins.

Kings at Thunder (8:00 p.m.), Spurs at Warriors (10:00 p.m.): A Thunder win or a Spurs loss and the Thunder will be the top seed in the West (OKC’s magic number is one).

Rockets at Suns (10:00 p.m.): Houston controls its own destiny — win this game and against the Lakers Wednesday and they are the six seed. If Houston wins and Golden State loses to the Spurs the Rockets lock up the six seed tonight.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Bulls at Magic (7:00 p.m.): The Bulls are the six seed and with a win can move within half a game of the five-seed Hawks. The Bulls have the tiebreak with the Hawks so if they can catch them they would get Brooklyn in the first round instead of Indiana.

Shabazz Muhammad awkwardly mentions Collective Bargaining Agreement during halftime interview (video)

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The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.

Muhammad:

We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Um. What?

To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.

Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.

hat tip: reddit user cjsplash

Duke’s Jayson Tatum, California’s Ivan Rabb declare for NBA draft

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Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.

As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.

Duke announced Tatum’s decision.

Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?

Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.

PBT Extra: What coaches are on hot seat? Alvin Gentry at front of list.

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This season, for the first time in 46 years, no NBA coach will be fired during the season (nobody is getting canned at this point).

However, once the off-season starts, there will be a few changes.

Alvin Gentry in New Orleans and Fred Hoiberg in Chicago are the names most mentioned, but there will be an unexpected firing somewhere around the league. Some GMs are on the hot seat also (Rob Hennigan in Orlando leads that parade).

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez each suspended one game for thrown punches

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It was obvious this was coming. Get in a shoving match “fight” in the NBA and you get a fine. However, actually throw punches and…

Toronto’s Serge Ibaka and Chicago’s Robin Lopez each have been suspended for one game by the NBA “for throwing punches at one another during an altercation,” the league announced. What that works out to is a $120,715 hit for Lopez and a $111,364 ding for Ibaka.

Also, Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire earned a $15,000 fine shoving the Bulls Nikola Mirotic and “acting as other than a peacemaker as part of the same altercation.”

This all came out of what seemed a rather innocuous play. Ibaka and Lopez were battling for rebounding positioning, it went on for a second after the ball went through the hoop, Ibaka caught Lopez with a little chicken wing elbow in the back, Lopez spun, and, boy, that escalated quickly. Lopez’s punch missed, while Ibaka’s caught Lopez in the hair more than the body.

Both men got technicals and were ejected.