April 17, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) controls the ball against the defense of Los Angeles Lakers small forward Metta World Peace (15) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Surprisingly for a Friday night, there are only six games on the schedule tonight. But the two teams that can impact the Clippers are both playing.
There's little point even discussing the Grizzlies game at Charlotte that is going on about now. Charlotte has lost 18 straight, and has a legitimate claim to the title of worst team in NBA history. If Charlotte losing the remainder of their games, they'll actually own the record for the worst winning percentage in league history. And even if they do manage to win a game -- say if the Knicks have nothing to play for on the final night of the season and hand the game over, though even then the Bobcats might not win -- it won't change the fact that they are truly terrible. Memphis couldn't possibly lose tonight -- it's already in the win column.
The late game on ESPN (6:30 tip) is a different story. The Lakers are playing the Spurs in San Antonio. This game is huge. It is supposed to be the return of Kobe Bryant to the lineup after a seven game absence (during which the Lakers were 5-2). The Spurs profess to not care that much about playoff positioning, but I guarantee you they care about beating the Lakers a week from the start of the playoffs. If the Lakers win this game, the Clippers can forget about third in the conference and the Pacific Division title. But if the Lakers lose, then the Clippers could still come from behind if they can win out.