Another day, another result going against the Rockets playoff hopes. There was just one game of interest for Houston yesterday as the New Orleans Hornets traveled to Salt Lake City to take on the Jazz in an important match-up for both teams. In the end, the Hornets managed to scrape out a win, but in doing so they lost the services of their starting 4, David West, probably for the remainder of the season. West injured his knee, painfully, as I understand it. The Hornets moved to 41-31 and the Jazz are all but eliminated at 36-37, but perhaps a beacon of light opened up for Houston with the injury.
1. San Antonio Spurs
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Dallas Mavericks
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
5. Denver Nuggets
— already/probably qualified —
6. Portland Trailblazers
7. New Orleans Hornets (+0.5)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (+1)
9. Houston Rockets (+2)
10. Phoenix Suns (+1)
11. Utah Jazz (+1.5)
There are a bunch of games of interest tonight.
Memphis Grizzlies (40-32) @ Chicago Bulls (51-19)
The Grizzlies started off their stretch of games against .700+ teams with a close victory over the Celtics on Wednesday. They now start challenges against the best teams in either conference, beginning with a game in Chicago tonight. The Bulls are just a game ahead of Boston in the standings and would want to continue building on that to ensure home court through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Here’s hoping that Derrick Rose and company can take care of a Grizzlies team that has decided to play its best basketball after its best player was announced to be out for the season.
New Orleans Hornets (41-31) @ Phoenix Suns (36-34)
This is a tough game for both teams as the playoff implications are huge. The Suns are still a few games out of the last playoff spot and a win here would go a long way in helping them make the cut, although they’d have to rely on Houston fumbling towards the end, as well. The Hornets are on the second night of a back-to-back and will be playing their first game down the stretch with no David West. For the Rockets, the best scenario, apart from both teams losing somehow, would be for the Suns to take this game. Why? Because even if they win this game we will be a game ahead of them. And with the Hornets facing injuries, it is plausible that they will slide out of the playoffs. Hence, I’ll be cheering AB and the Suns in this game.
San Antonio Spurs (57-14) @ Portland Trailblazers (41-30)
The Spurs play their second game without Tim Duncan, having dropped the first one to the Nuggets by three a few nights ago. Portland are currently streaking and our breathing down the necks of the Nuggets. It doesn’t really matter to the Rockets who wins this one, but it will be interesting to see how the Spurs are playing without Duncan anchoring their frontcourt.