Western Conference Playoff Thread - Sunday Games

Mar 21, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Jason Terry (31) drives the ball past Los Angeles Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions (7) during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

In the Denver-Houston game tonight, the Clippers don't care who wins; though whoever wins tonight could do the Clippers a favor by winning again tomorrow night.

In two other Western Conference games, Clips Nation has a very specific rooting interest.

Mavericks at Lakers - This one is huge of course. Kobe Bryant will miss his fifth straight. You have to give the Lakers credit. They've done a great job without Kobe, going 3-1 in the games he missed. It looked dicey at first, when they were blown out in Phoenix and then struggled in New Orleans, but wins over San Antonio and Denver have them back on the right track. Still, with two games remaining against the Spurs and one against the Thunder they are certainly not out of the woods, and a loss to the Mavericks would be the Clippers even in the loss column. The game is big for the Mavericks also, as a loss would drop them even in the loss column with the Rockets and Nuggets and in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs a year after winning the title.

Grizzlies at Hornets - All this talk of winning out by the Suns is not very realistic given their remaining schedule and the state of their team that was blown out in San Antonio last night. But the Grizzlies could very easily win their seven remaining games. Beginning tonight, Memphis plays their next six against teams with losing records. Not only that, the more competitive teams on the list could all be missing their best player -- Memphis has games remaining against Minnesota, where Kevin Love may not play because of his concussion, against Portland without LaMarcus Aldridge who has been shut down with a hip injury, and against Orlando who will likely be without Dwight Howard and his herniated disc. Bottom line: pencil in the Grizzlies for a 42-24 final record, and win five of six unless you want to lose home court advantage to them. The Hornets might have Eric Gordon back for this game, which would certainly help.

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