I wish I could say that Tuesday’s games brought some clarity on who the San Antonio Spurs will be playing in the playoffs, but that’s not the case
The Utah Jazz took care of the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. This put the Houston Rockets in a position to clinch the 2nd overall seed in the West if they could take care of business against the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the Rockets up by 14 points three minutes into the 4th quarter, the 2nd seed was looking likely. The Rockets sputtered down the stretch, resorting to their usual brand of hero ball. A frantic corner three by Paul George with two seconds left in the game put the Thunder up by one point. James Harden missed an open three pointer at the buzzer, ensuring that tomorrow’s games will be filled with heavy drama.
The Portland Trail Blazers looked like they were about to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers’ eight-man rotation of Jemerrio Jones, Mike Muscala, JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams, Isaac Bonga, and Moritz Wagner. Maurice Harkless scored the Blazers’ final 12 points of the game, including a game-winning three pointer. This win gives the Blazers a shot at the 3rd seed heading into Wednesday’s games.
|1||1||Golden State Warriors||57||24||0|
|4||4||Portland Trail Blazers||52||29||5|
|6||6||Oklahoma City Thunder||48||33||9|
|7||7||San Antonio Spurs||47||34||10|
|8||8||Los Angeles Clippers||47||34||10|
Spurs’ seeding scenarios
Games to watch
- Thunder at Bucks (7PM CST)
- Mavericks at Spurs (7PM CST)
- Timberwolves at Nuggets (9:30PM CST)
- Jazz at Clippers (9:30PM CST)
- Kings at Blazers (9:30PM CST)
It’s pretty remarkable that the Spurs can still have any one of four first round opponents heading into the final day of the regular season. The absolute first step is that the Spurs defeat the Dallas Mavericks. If they do, they will at least guarantee that they don’t have to face the Golden State Warriors in the first round. I believe the Spurs have a fighter’s chance against the other possible opponents.
The path of least resistance would be for the Spurs, Blazers, and Nuggets to all win on Wednesday. This will guarantee that the Rockets end up 4th in the West, forcing them to play the Warriors before the WCF. It’ll also ensure that the Spurs play the Nuggets or Blazers in the first round. If the Thunder win, the Spurs will play the Nuggets; if they lose, the Spurs will play the Blazers.
I haven’t yet heard any announcements of the Milwaukee Bucks resting their players for the final game of the regular season, but with nothing to play for, I suspect that the Thunder may be going up against a less-than-complete Bucks team on Wednesday. Maybe Coach Pop will call Coach Bud and ask him to do the Spurs a favor.
There’s a lot that has to happen in order for either of these two scenarios to play out, but one can dream right?
Which opponent are you hoping for in the 1st round?
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