Even though the Clippers aren't in action tonight, every game won or lost by their Western conference rivals contributes to seeding and playoff match-ups.
In last night's games, the Clippers, Rockets, Suns, Grizzlies, Thunder, and Spurs all won. The Trail Blazers were the only team of the 9 playoff contenders to lose last night, as they took on the Heat. As a result, the Blazers fell closer to the Warriors, and are now only one game ahead of them in the loss column.
In the battle for the 8th seed, the Suns officially moved past the Mavericks after a win last night, tying the two teams at 42-29.
Here's how the standings look as of the start of today's games:
|1||San Antonio Spurs||54-16||12|
|2||Oklahoma City Thunder||52-18||12|
|3||Los Angeles Clippers||50-21||11|
|5||Portland Trail Blazers||45-26||11|
|6||Golden State Warriors||44-27||11|
The Clippers' position didn't change mist last night as all four teams in the top four seeds won their games. however, if Portland continues to slide (3-7 in their last 10) then they could end up in the #6 seed and play the Clippers. They could, however, fall down to 7 (or potentially lower), setting the Clippers up with Memphis in the first round... again.
Those five teams in the back half of the group are all incredibly close, and there's a clear divide between the top four and bottom four at this point, with Houston pulling four losses ahead of Portland. The Clippers' chances at the #2 seed shrink every day, and if Oklahoma City can win in Dallas tonight then it will both seriously limit the Clippers' hopes and also push the Mavericks behind Phoenix, breaking their tie.
It's worth noting that the Thunder still have some tough games, including a stretch of 5 games in 7 days which put them against the Spurs, Rockets, Suns, Kings, and Clippers at the start of April. Sacramento is the only non-playoff opponent in that bunch, and the Rockets and Clippers games are both on the second night of a back to back on the road.
Here are the important Western Conference teams in action tonight:
Trail Blazers: @ Magic, 4:00 PST
Thunder @ Mavericks: 5:00 PST, TNT