Friday NBAction open thread

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

With NCAA Madness in full swing you almost forget that there are NBA playoff races going on as well. Miami tries for their 25th straight, and the Clippers will clinch their playoff spot if Utah loses tonight.

If you're like me, you're hoops viewing schedule has been dominated by the NCAA tournament the last couple of days, but for some reason they continue to insist on playing NBA games in March as well. Talk about madness. The Clippers don't seem to be catching any breaks lately. Denver beat Chicago earlier this week in overtime after a disallowed tip in that would have given the Bulls the win, and then last night they were down by five with 14 seconds to go but managed to win by a point. Meanwhile Memphis won their last game in overtime on a tip in at the buzzer, and to top it all off, Tony Parker is returning to the Spurs lineup in plenty of time for the LAC's visit to San Antonio next week. A break cannot be caught.

New York at Toronto, 4:00 PM

Oklahoma City at Orlando, 4:00 PM

Milwaukee at Indiana, 4:00 PM

Portland at Atlanta, 4:30 PM

Detroit at Miami, 4:30 PM, NBA-TV

Memphis at New Orleans, 5:00 PM

Cleveland at Houston, 5:00 PM

Boston at Dallas, 5:30 PM

Utah at San Antonio, 5:30 PM

Minnesota at Phoenix, 7:00 PM

Washington at LA Lakers, 7:30 PM

Miami should get their 25th straight win tonight when they host the Pistons. That game is on NBA-TV starting at 4:30.

In the race for third in the West, the Clippers and Nuggets have the night off and the Grizzlies are in New Orleans to face the Hornets. The Clippers already trail both the Nuggets and Grizzlies in winning percentage, but if Memphis wins, they'll actually take a half game lead over L.A. The loss column is the important one at any rate, and currently Memphis has 21 losses while the Clippers and Nuggets each have 22.

Another score to watch is Utah in San Antonio. Utah's recent collapse has been fairly spectacular, and has obviously opened the door for the Lakers to re-enter the Western Conference playoff race. The Jazz have lost 10 of their last 13, the start of their slide ironically corresponding approximately with the trade deadline decision to keep the team together and make a push for the playoffs with this group of expiring contracts. Oops. At any rate, a Utah loss in San Antonio tonight would actually be significant as it would clinch a playoff spot for the Clippers.

The Lakers face the Wizards at STAPLES Center in the late game, and the purple and gold could have both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol back.

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