Today’s NBA slate has 7 games, 2 games on NBATV.
· Celtics at Hornets
· Bucks at Hawks
· Jazz at Timberwolves
Of these aforementioned games, the following may be of particular interest to you as the playoff race comes down the final stretch. I have ordered these games by their level of entertainment/interest.
Houston Rockets (50-23) @ Toronto Raptors (43-30)
Time: 4:30 PM PST
How to watch: NBAtv, RTSW
Notes: The Rockets continue to battle injuries, as Donatas Motiejunas (back), Patrick Beverly (wrist), Terrence Jones (ribs), and Kostas Papanikolaou (ankle) are all out. For the Raptors, all-star Kyle Lowry (back) is out. The Rockets have continued to win despite injuries, going 7-3 in their last 10 games, and riding a 4 game winning streak. The Raptors are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Impact: With the Rockets victory and Grizzlies loss on Sunday, the two teams swapped playoff possitions, with the Rockets now sitting in the 2 seed. They are 1 up on the Grizzlies, and 2 up on the Clippers and Blazers in the loss column. They now control their own destiny for the 2 seed. The Raptors are currently sitting as the 4 seed in the East, just 1 back on the Bulls (3 seed), and 3 back of the Cavs (2 seed) in the loss column.
Sacramento Kings (26-46) @ Memphis Grizzlies (50-24)
Time: 5:00 AM PST
How to watch: CSNS, SPSO
Notes: The Kings are missing a couple of key contributers, with DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) and former Clippers PG Darren Collison (hip), along with Eric Moreland (shoulder) all out. For the Grizzlies, Tony Allen is dealing with a hamstring injury, and missed Sunday's loss to the Spurs, with no official status yet for tonight's game. Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games, with the Grizzlies riding a 3 game losing streak at the wrong time.
Impact: The Grizzlies dropped to the 3 seed, just 1 game up on the Clippers and Blazers, and 2 up on the Spurs in the loss column. They are 1 game behind the Rockets in the loss column for the 2 seed. The Kings are out of the playoff race.
Phoenix Suns (38-36) @ Portland Trail Blazers (47-25)
Time: 7:00 PM PST
How to watch: NBAtv, FSAZ, CSNW
Notes: The Suns might not get a couple of players back for tonight's game, with Brandon Knight (ankle) questionable, and Marcus Thornton (toe) doubtful, and Kendall Marshall (knee) out. The Blazers are only missing Wesley Matthews (achilles) for the game. Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10, with the Suns losing their last 3, while the Blazers have won their last 3.
Impact: The Suns, although not officially, are out of the playoff race, after last night's must win game loss to the Thunder, the team they are chasing for the final playoff spot. The Thunder now sit 4 games up on the Suns in the loss column for that final playoff spot. The Blazers are currently tied with the Clippers in the loss column, with one game remaining between the two teams, so no matter what the Blazers do, the Clippers control their destiny for home court in the first round, even if they stay as the 5 seed. The Blazers are just 1 game behind the Grizzlies (3 seed) and 2 games behind the Rockets (2 seed) in the loss column, but are also just 1 game up on the Spurs in losses, although the Blazers can fall no lower than the 4 seed due to the fact that they will be the Northwest division champs.
Los Angeles Lakers (19-53) at Philadelphia 76ers (18-56)
Time: 4:00 PM PST
How to watch: TWSN, CSNP
Notes: The Lakers are like a mini hospital waiting room, with Ronnie Price (elbow), Nick Young (knee), Kobe Bryant (shoulder), and Julius Randle (leg) all out, while the status of Jeremy Lin (illness), and Carlos Boozer (undisclossed) are unknown after they both missed Sunday's game versus the Nets. The 76ers are missing Tony Wroten (knee), and Joel Embiid (foot) for tonights game. The Lakers have been the better losers in the last 10 games, with a record of 3-7 to the 76ers 4-6.
Impact: This is the game of the night if you get excited about the draft and draft lottery. Both the Lakers and 76ers are guaranteed to be in the draft lottery, but there is double incentive for the 76ers to lose, which would be a franchise victory. The reason? They own the Lakers 2015 top 5 protected draft pick, which they received as part of the 3 team trade with the Suns and Bucks. If the Lakers win, which would be a loss for the franchise, their chances of falling out of the top 5 in the draft grow, which means not only would they have a horrible season, but they would not have anything to show for it next year. Expect a lot of "fake" hard play, as both teams, even if they won't admit it, want to lose this game!