Tag: Western Conference Playoffs

Mark Cuban

We’ve got your Western Conference playoff schedule here


I keep saying it because I believe it — one of the top four seeds in the West is going to get knocked off in the first round.

Not sure who, but the Dallas/Portland and Oklahoma City/Denver matchups are going to be tough ones. (Sorry Cuban, but you know us Internet reporters…) Well, tough for them, fun for you as a fan because you just get to watch some close, entertaining games.

When do you get to watch? We can help you out with that. Here is the Western Conference playoff schedule. The asterisk (*) means if the game is necessary. Ironically, all times listed are Eastern and we’ve told you the broadcaster where we know it.

San Antonio vs. Memphis

Game 1 – Sun April 17 at San Antonio 1:00PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Wed April 20 at San Antonio 8:30PM (NBA TV)
Game 3 – Sat April 23 at Memphis 7:30PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Mon April 25 at Memphis TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 27 at San Antonio TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 29 at Memphis TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 1 at San Antonio TBD

L.A. Lakers vs. New Orleans

Game 1 – Sun April 17 at L.A. Lakers 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 2 – Wed April 20 at L.A. Lakers 10:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri April 22 at New Orleans 9:30PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Sun April 24 at New Orleans 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 26 at L.A. Lakers TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 28 at New Orleans TBD
Game 7 * Sat April 30 at L.A. Lakers TBD (TNT)

Dallas vs. Portland

Game 1 – Sat April 16 at Dallas 9:30PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Tue April 19 at Dallas 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Thu April 21 at Portland 10:30PM (TNT)
Game 4 – Sat April 23 at Portland 5:00PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Mon April 25 at Dallas TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 28 at Portland TBD
Game 7 * Sat April 30 at Dallas TBD (TNT)

Oklahoma City vs. Denver

Game 1 – Sun April 17 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Wed April 20 at Oklahoma City 8:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Sat April 23 at Denver 10:00PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Mon April 25 at Denver10: 30PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Wed April 27 at Oklahoma City TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 29 Oklahoma City at Denver TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 1 at Oklahoma City TBD

Playoff seedings: The West is still a mess

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat

In these uncertain times, we know a couple things for sure.

We know Chicago will win the Eastern Conference and take on the Indiana Pacers in the first round. We know Orlando will host Atlanta in another first-round matchup. We know the Spurs are the top team in the West.

After that, we’ve got no idea. Well, we kind of know some things in the East, the West is still as confused as Lindsay Lohan. So we’ll start our breakdown out East.

Eastern Conference

We told you already it’s Chicago vs. Indiana and Orlando vs. Atlanta for sure. The other two matchups are almost set in the East, but with the way teams in this conference go on losing streaks nothing is certain.

Miami’s win over Boston on Sunday means the Heat control their own destiny — win out on the road at Atlanta and Toronto and they are the No. 2 seed. At 56-24, they are one game up on the 55-25 Celtics. However, Boston owns the tiebreaker, so if the Heat slip and the Celtics sweep the Wizards and the Knicks, then Boston slides into the No. 2 seed.

Who might they face? The Knicks are one game up on the 76ers for the No. 6 seed, a lead they kept with their dramatic win Sunday night. New York also owns the tiebreaker. So, the only way the Sixers pass the Knicks is for New York to lose out — possible against Chicago and Boston — and Philly to win out (Orlando and Detroit).

Basically, expect Boston vs. New York and Miami vs. Philadelphia to be the other two Eastern Conference series, but it’s not set in stone yet.

Western Conference

We know the Spurs are the top seed. We know little else.

After dropping five straight, the Lakers have fallen into a tie with Mavericks for the No. 2 seed at 55-25, but the Lakers hold the tiebreaker. Oklahoma City, after beating L.A. on Sunday, is just one game back (54-26). The Lakers still own the tiebreaker over the Thunder, but the Thunder own the tiebreaker over the Mavericks. So, any of these teams can finish two-to-four.

The Lakers finish with the Spurs, then Kings; Dallas finishes with Houston, then New Orleans; the Thunder finish with the Kings, then Bucks.

The bottom half of the West is just as messy. The issue here is most teams are doing everything they can to avoid the Lakers, and if they can swing a date with Dallas they’ll take it.

Denver should be the No. 5 seed, they are two games clear of everyone, so just one more win (over Golden State or Utah) and they are locked in at the five.

Portland (47-33) is currently sixth and one-game ahead of Memphis and New Orleans, who are tied for seventh at 46-34. The real test here is the Tuesday night game between Memphis and Portland, a game that will go a long way toward deciding who finishes where. The tiebreak options between the three teams are too numerous to explain, but if the standings finish like this the Hornets would have the tiebreaker on Memphis. New Orleans has the tiebreaker if all three teams finished tied as well.

So there you go. By the end of Monday we may have a few more clear matchups set. Maybe.

Blazers have little trouble dispatching Jazz

Paul Millsap, Gerald Wallace, Wesley Matthews

It was a workman like performance by the Blazers. Not a lot of flash, they were just the better team and they never let up.

And they needed the win. It moved them half a game ahead of the Hornets for the six seed in the West. It matters — the six seed likely gets Dallas, seven seed gets the Lakers. Portland feels it has a shot against Dallas (and the Lakers would be happy to avoid Portland). Los Angeles is a harder road.

Portland was without Marcus Camby (sore neck) and Utah make a priority of not letting LaMarcus Aldridge beat them — he was denied and doubled and finished with 12 points on 6-of-19 shooting.

But now Portland has Gerald Wallace. He does a little of everything for this team and on a night they needed scoring he pitched in 29 (on 16 shots). He was getting inside and was still 5-9 on jumpers. Plus he had 8 boards. And defended like mad. He is a great fit for what Portland does and makes them much more dangerous in the playoffs.

The Blazers also got solid play off the bench from Brandon Roy, and Nicolas Batum had 21 points on 13 shots.

Devin Harris was back for the Jazz after a seven-game absence and looked sharp, but the Jazz are giving the kids their due now. And that leads to challenges. Gordon Hayward was barely a factor (he had 10 points, still). There were fourth quarter runs to make it a game, then the Blazers tightened their defense and the result was the Jazz taking rushed long jumpers against the shot clock. There is still learning to do.

Next up for Portland is the hated Lakers Friday night (and Los Angeles looks plenty beatable right now). A win helps them get what they want, which is to avoid those same Lakers in the first round.

Playoff picture starts to come into focus (Heat may not like it)

Milwaukee Bucks v Miami Heat

Not everything is clear to me. Like how Rebecca Black has a career, for one. Or how Criminal Minds has been on television for so long.

But the NBA playoff picture? That started to come into focus Wednesday and the Spurs like what they see. Miami, not so much.

So here is a quick run down, by conference.

Eastern Conference

Chicago remains on top at 57-20, with a magic number of 3 heading into a big Thursday night game against Boston. Bulls win that and the Magic number becomes just 1, lose and they can still clinch the top seed by winning three of their last four (at Cleveland, at Orlando, at New York and New Jersey). So basically, nobody is catching them. Sorry Celtics.

The good news is Boston has a more firm hold on the two seed after the Heat were upset by Milwaukee Wednesday. The Heat loss drops them to the three seed at 54-24, just half a game back of the Celtics — but Boston owns the tiebreaker (regardless of what happens when the two play Sunday). So for practical purposes, the Heat are 1.5 games out of the two seed because they have to pass Boston. Miami needs a Bulls win Thursday, then Miami has to beat Boston Sunday, or they will finish the season the three seed.

Which may mean a date with the Knicks. New York beat Philadelphia Wednesday, moving them back into the six seed spot, half a game up on the Sixers. Which seemed impossible two weeks ago, but they have found an offensive grove and have won five straight. If the Knicks beat the Nets Friday they also clinch the tiebreaker (conference record) over the Sixers. (New York and Philly split their season series.)

Also, Indiana is now officially in the playoffs as the eight seed after a thumping of Washington Wednesday, Charlotte and Milwaukee cannot make up the ground. So start printing those Pacers/Bulls first round playoff tickets. For all four games in that series.

Western Conference

The Spurs win over the Kings combined with the Lakers second loss in a row — this time to the Warriors — means the Spurs are officially the top seed. Nobody can catch them. So look for the Spurs key players to get a lot of rest.

The Lakers loss also was a chance for the Mavericks to make up some ground on Los Angeles as the two seed, but the Mavs have lost four in a row after another one Wednesday. L.A. and Dallas — two fan bases starting to worry about which version of their team they will see in the playoffs. Dallas fans should worry a little (and Lakers, too) — the Thunder are now just one game back of the Mavericks for the three seed. Dallas has the tiebreaker, so it’s really two games, but if Dallas keeps losing the Thunder could pass them (the Lakers would rather face Dallas than Oklahoma City in the second round).

New Orleans, Portland and Memphis remained tightly bunched but unmoved out of the six, seven and eight spots out West — but now Houston has no real shot of catching them. The Rockets had to beat the Hornets Wednesday, were up 17 early and gave it all back and then some. Mathematically the Rockets are alive, but they are 3.5 games back of Memphis, so the Grizzlies can stop worrying who is behind them and focus on the teams ahead of them.

Spurs win, Lakers lose — top seed in the West rests in San Antonio

San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks

I hope y’all like Tex Mex, because the road to the NBA finals in the West runs through San Antonio.

Sure, the two seed Lakers and top seed Spurs play next Tuesday, but now people will want to see that game about as much as they want to listen to a new Go-Go’s album. Or a watch regular season Kansas City Royals game.

Mathmatically the Lakers are still alive, but the Spurs all but wrapped up the top spot in the West they beat the Atlanta Hawks 97-90 in a pretty sloppy game Tuesday. The win kept the Spurs (59-19) two games up on the Lakers in loss column — and three of San Antonio’s four remaining games are against lottery teams. They weren’t likely to lose those if they put out much effort, so even if the Spurs fell to the Lakers (and the Lakers won out) it wouldn’t matter if they won the other three.

Then the Lakers went out and played a sloppy, disinterested game against the Jazz and lost.

The Jazz were one of those lottery teams expected to roll over at the end of the season, but to quote Apollo Creed’s trainer from Rocky, “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!” Gordon Hayward hit a game winning free throw, then Kobe Bryant fumbled the ball out of bounds on the last play and walked off the court staring at his hands in disbelief.

That puts the Lakers at 55-22, 3.5 back with four to play and three back in the loss column.

The Spurs magic number is 2 (any combination of Spurs wins and Lakers losses to reach that number and San Antonio clinches the West). Look for the Lakers to start resting guys as they realize they are the two seed (third seed Dallas is two full games back of Los Angeles and is not going to catch them).

San Antonio does have Chicago just 1.5 games back and the Spurs magic number for the best record in the NBA is 4. Meaning the Spurs still need to get some wins to lock up home court throughout (Chicago still plays Boston, Orlando and has a New York/New Jersey back-to-back left, so there may be losses in their future).

All hail the Spurs. They won the regular season prize. Which is not the big prize they covet, but it does come with home-court advantage. And Tex Mex.