Today’s NBA has 6 games:
· Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers
· New York at Orlando Magic
· Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat
· Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls
· Utah Jazz at Portland Trailblazers
· Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors
Of these non-Clippers games, the following affect the Western Conference playoff picture and have been ordered below in terms of interest.
Utah Jazz (36-43) at Portland Trailblazers (51-28)
Time: 7:00 PM PST
Injuries: The Blazers will be without LaMarcus Aldridge (foot) is Out for this game. Arron Afflalo (shoulder) is out until Late-April. Dorrell Wright (hand) is Out till at least Early-May. Wesley Matthews (Achilles) is Out for the Season. The Jazz have both Trey Burke (back) and Alec Burks (shoulder) are Questionable.
Notes: Trey Burke’s sophomore season has been disappointing. He’s played 75 games, but only started 43. His minutes played per game have dropped 2 minutes. His shooting and free throw percentages have dropped. Even his assists per game have fallen off. Dude probably can be labeled as “bust” at this point after being the 9th overall pick in the 2013 draft. Too bad for Utah too as Burke was picked ahead of Michael-Carter Williams and the Greek Freak (though the 2013 class has been thoroughly underwhelming). Alec Burks has also been a bust after being selected 12th overall in the 2011 draft. He’s been injury plagued this year and his numbers have been mediocre to underwhelming. Burks was picked directly ahead of the Morris brothers, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic, and Iman Shumpert (in that order).
Impact: Portland is now two games back in the lost column. This gives the Clippers some breathing space if they do lose to Memphis. Portland controls the tiebreaker for home-court advantage because they would be a divisional winner.
Minnesota Timberwolves (16-63) at Golden State Warriors (64-15)
Time: 7:30 PM PST
Injuries: Leandro Barbosa (Achilles) is Questionable. For the Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio (ankle), Nikola Pekovic (ankle), and Shabazz Muhammed (finger) are Out for the Season. Anthony Bennett (ankle) and Gary Neal (ankle) are out until at least Mid-April. Gorgui Dieng (face) is out until at least April 13th. Kevin Garnett (knee) is Questionable.
Notes: For Timberwolves, Rubio only played 22 games this year. Nikola Pekovic has only played in 31 games (29 of which were starts). Simply put, the Wolves really got bitten by the injury bug and are the worst team in the West. They are in fact 1 game behind the Knicks for the worst record and the best shot at the 1st overall pick in the draft. It’ll be interesting to see them next year if they’re healthy and with an impactful rookie.
Impact: The Warriors have wrapped up the Conference and are just trying to get back in the flow of winning games.