Today’s NBA slate has 7 games, with 2 games on ABC, and 2 games on NBAtv.
· Bulls at Cavaliers
Of these aforementioned games, the following 2 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.
Golden State Warriors (63-13) @ San Antonio Spurs (50-26)
Time: 4:00 PM PST
How to watch: NBAtv, CSNB, FSSW
Notes: Both teams are pretty much healthy and on fire. The only player with an injury, Tiago Splitter (calf) is out for the Spurs. The Warriors are the hottest team in the NBA, riding a 12 game winning streak. The Spurs are also one of the hottest teams in the league, having gone 9-1 in their last 10 games, and riding a 6 game winning streak entering today's game.
Impact: The Warriors have locked up the Western Conference regular season title, and with it, home court advantage through the Western Conference Finals. They are currently 6 games up in the loss column over the Hawks, the next best record in the league, and the lock for the Eastern Conference regular season title. With only 7 games remaining, the Warriors only have to win one more game, or have the Hawks lose one more, to secure home court throughout the playoffs, as they own the tiebreaker over the Hawks with the better conference record. The Spurs are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, currently sitting tied with the Clippers and Blazers in the loss column. Both the Clippers (conference record) and Blazers (head-to-head record) own the tiebreaker over the Spurs, so the Spurs would have to finish with a better record to move ahead of those 2 teams. In fact, the Spurs also lack the tiebreaker advantage over the Grizzlies (division record) who currently sit 1 game ahead of them in the loss column, so they are playing at a crucial disadvantage. Of course, the other than the Warriors, the Spurs, due to their championship pedigree, are probably the most feared 1st round opponent in the Western Conference.
Houston Rockets (52-24) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (42-34)
Time: 10:00 AM PST
How to watch: ABC, Watch ESPN
Notes: The Rockets keep winning despite injuries. For today's game, they will be without Patrick Beverly (wrist), Donatus Motiejunas (back), and Kostas Papanikolaou (ankle). Also, Dwight Howard is still on restricted minutes since coming back from a knee injury last week. For the Thunder, Nick Collison (ankle) is doubtful, while Kevin Durant (toe), Serge Ibaka (knee), and Andre Roberson (ankle) are all out. The Rockets are 8-2 in their last 10, winners of 2 straight. The Thunder are 5-5, having lost their last 2 games.
Impact: The Rockets are in the lead, and thus, in control in the battle of the West playoff seeding. They currently sit at the 2 seed, 1 game up in the loss column on the Grizzlies, and 2 up in the loss column to the Clippers, Blazers, and Spurs. Although extremely slim, the slightest slip up by any of the teams in this race could mean a quick drop in the seeding. The Thunder meanwhile, are barely hanging onto the 8 seed. Their mediocre play has only been match by the team directly behind them, the Pelicans. The Thunder are 1 up in the loss column, but the Pelicans own the tie breaker, meaning they only need to tie the Thunder to make it to the playoffs.