Western Conference Playoff Race - Tonight's Games with Clipper Implications

We're not used to being in this situation. What's the proper etiquette? Do you act all cool, and ignore the other teams around you in the playoff race? Do you send encouraging notes to their opponents? The enemy of my enemy is my friend kind of stuff?

Last night was a good night for the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference playoff race. The Clippers won, moving into fourth place in the West by themselves. The other teams close to them in the standings that played last night -- Houston Denver, Utah, Phoenix -- all lost. Those are among the teams that could potentially push the Clippers out of the playoffs completely, but that prospect is now looking less and less likely.

Tonight has the potential to be pretty good too. The Clippers are currently two games behind the Lakers for third in the conference, first in the Pacific Division, and a half game ahead Dallas for fourth in the conference. Fourth place in the conference is of course massive, as it means home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Mavericks are hosting visiting Miami tonight, while the Lakers will host Oklahoma City. That's the two teams the Clippers want to lose, facing the teams with the second and third best records in the NBA.

As it happens, the Clippers also have showdown games looming with both the Mavericks and the Lakers at the start of April. On April 2 the Clippers travel to Dallas, and two days later they host the Lakers. Given that the season series with each of those teams is currently tied 1-1 and the winner will own the head-to-head tie-breaker, each of those April games will have significant playoff implications.

But tonight it's time to root for the Heat and the Thunder. OK, maybe it's too much to ask to root for the Heat. At least root for the Thunder. Both games are on TNT. Feel free to use this thread as a place to congregate during the games.

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