Friday night March 7 in the NBA

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Eleven games on the NBA schedule tonight, including big games for the Rockets and the Trail Blazers.

With less than six weeks remaining in the regular season, the scoreboard watching begins in earnest now. The Clippers are currently in a virtual tie with Houston and Portland for the third best record in the Western Conference (in fact the Rockets and Blazers are both ahead of the Clippers by a few percentage points, a game up in the loss column). Tonight, both of the immediate rivals have TOUGH games, with Portland on the road in Dallas and Houston hosting the Pacers at home.

Memphis at Chicago 4:00 PM ESPN

Cleveland at Charlotte 4:00 PM

Sacramento at Toronto 4:00 PM

Brooklyn at Boston 4:30 PM

Utah at New York 4:30 PM

Detroit at Minnesota 5:00 PM

Milwaukee at New Orleans 5:00 PM

Portland at Dallas 5:30 PM

LA Lakers at Denver 6:00 PM TWC

Indiana at Houston 6:30 PM ESPN

Atlanta at Golden State 7:30 PM

In other games of note to Clippers fans, the dreaded Grizzlies are playing in Chicago right now on ESPN. Memphis is currently tied with Dallas in the loss column and just out of the playoff picture. If you want nothing more than for the Grizzlies to miss the playoffs, then you can root for them to lose tonight. (But the bad news is that as long as they remain relatively healthy, they're going to be in -- they're just better than Dallas and Phoenix and Golden State, and they'll pass at least one of them, if not all three.)

The Warriors are hosting the Hawks tonight, and Atlanta doesn't have much hope in Oakland in their current state. If you've got League Pass you may want to watch to scout the Hawks, who happen to be facing the Clippers tomorrow night.

Finally, root for Minnesota to beat the Pistons tonight. Why? Well, for one thing, the Wolves are still hovering around the playoff picture in the West, four games back of the Grizz. A best case scenario for Clippers fans (one that has very little chance of happening, but still) would involve both Memphis and Golden State faltering and missing the playoffs, and the only way that can happen is if the Wolves step up and grab the eighth seed. But we also want the Wolves to remain above .500 so that the Clippers record against winning teams continues to look super shiny.

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