Clippers at 76ers
Trailblazers at Suns
Of these games, there are a few that could have serious implications for the Clippers slow climb up the Western Conference playoff seedings.
Memphis Grizzlies (50-22) vs. the Golden State Warriors (58-13)
Time: 5:00 pm PST
Implications: Golden State is currently riding a 7 game win streak and are winners of 9 of their last 10 games. They face a Memphis team that is somewhat struggling, winning only 6 of their last 10, and getting blown out in their last game by the Cavs. While it seemed destined that the Grizzlies would take the 2 seed in the Western Conference, their recent lackluster play puts them only 3 games ahead of the Clippers currently. A loss tonight and a win by the Clippers would trim that lead down to only 2 games in the loss column, and Memphis could find themselves tied for second with a Rockets victory. It may be a long shot, but the possibility of reaching the second seed isn't quite out of reach, especially with a Clippers vs. Memphis matchup still upcoming this season, a game that would likely decide the tiebreaker between the two teams.
Minnesota Timberwolves (16-55) at Houston Rockets (48-23)
Time: 5:00 pm PST
Implications: Houston rallied late against the Pelicans to escape with a victory and keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. Tonight they will face a much easier task going against an injury depleted roster for the Minnesota Timberwolves, with Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Kevin Garnett, Nikola Pekovic, Gary Neal all being sidelined for the game, going along with some other long term absentees like Shabazz Muhammad and Anthony Bennet. While the Rockets face some of their own health concerns, with Beverly being out possibly for the season, and Terrence Jones constantly being made of glass, they will look to reintegrate Dwight Howard into the team and maybe get him some easy reps against the worst team in the West. Unless Andrew Wiggins can go off against the Rockets, whom remain only 1.5 games ahead of the Clippers (2 in the loss column) it seems unlikely the Clippers will be able to make up any ground tonight.
Dallas Mavericks (45-27) at San Antonio Spurs (45-26)
Time: 5:30 pm PST
Implications: Dallas beat the Spurs just a few nights ago off of a terrific performance by Monta Ellis, but in that time the Spurs embarrassed the Thunder. While both of these teams sit 1.5 and 2 games behind the Clippers in the 6th and 7th seeds, it may seem like there is no real team to root for in this game. However, Dallas has played mediocre ball since the All Star break, while the Spurs seem to be putting it together as Splitter has come back and Tony Parker is rounding into form. A Dallas win tonight would be preferred by the Clippers, to keep the more dangerous Spurs from clipping at Lob City's heels in the standings, and potentially preventing a Spurs vs. Clippers first round matchup.
Portland Trail Blazers (45-25) at Phoenix Suns (38-34)
Time: 7:00 pm PST
Implications: The Blazers battled back against an early deficit to the sizzling Utah Jazz, and managed to end their 5 game losing skid and pull out a victory on Wednesday night. The Blazers hope to have Nicolas Batum rejoin LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard in Phoenix tonight. However, Portland has a terrible track record of playing in the desert, having lost 17 of their last 19 regular season games, and not having notched a victory since December 2010. Phoenix may have a boost in getting the injured point guard Brandon Knight back for this contest, and desperately need a victory to keep any shot of the playoffs alive sitting three games back of Oklahoma City. The Blazers are currently the 4th seed, but remain behind the Clippers record wise, even though they are tied in the loss column. The Clippers will hope their old friend Eric Bledsoe can pay them a favor tonight.