Today’s NBA slate has 6 games, with 2 games on TNT.
· Spurs at Thunder
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.
San Antonio Spurs (51-26) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (42-35)
Time: 5:00 PM PST
How to watch: TNT, FSOK
Notes: The Spurs will be without Tiago Splitter (calf) for this game, while the Thunder will be missing Nick Collison (ankle), Serge Ibaka (knee), Andre Roberson (ankle), and Kevin Durant (toe). The Spurs are the hottest team in the NBA right now, having won 7 straight, and 10 of their last 11. The Thunder come in to the game riding a 3 game losing streak, and are 5-5 in their last 10.
Impact: The Spurs are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, currently sitting tied with the Clippers in the loss column. The Clippers (conference record) own the tiebreaker over the Spurs, so the Spurs would have to finish with a better record to get the higher seed. They are currently 2 back of the Rockets and 1 back of the Grizzlies in the loss column, while they are 1 up on the Blazers. With just 5 games remaining, including tonight's, the Spurs can still finish as high as the 2 seed, and as low as the 6 seed, and besides the Warriors, they are probably the team no one else wants in the first round. The Thunder are still in a battle with the Pelicans for the 8 seed. Both teams have 35 losses, but the Pelicans have played 1 less game, so in the standings, the Thunder are currently in 8th place. But the Pelicans have the tie-breaker based on head to head match-ups (3-1), so basically, the Thunder can win out, and still miss the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors (63-14) @ New Orleans Pelicans (41-35)
Time: 5:00 PM PST
How to watch: CSBy, FSNO
Notes: The Warriors are completely healthy, and their goal is to stay healthy entering the playoffs. For the Pelicans, Jrue Holiday (leg) is out, but he has been out since January, so they have adapted. The Warriors are coming off a loss to the Spurs, which broke a 12 game winning streak (their 2nd longest streak of the season). The Pelicans are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Impact: The Warriors have almost locked up home court advantage throughout the playoffs, including the finals. They are currently 5 games up in the loss column to the Hawks, with 5 games left, but own the tiebreaker with the better conference record. The only way they lose home court to the Hawks would be for the Warriors to lose 3 of their final 5 games (all remaining games are against conference opponents), and for the Hawks to win out. The Pelicans are in control of their playoff lives. They are currently tied in the loss column with the Thunder, and have the better head-to-head record (3-1), so if they win out, they are in as the 8 seed.
Charlotte Hornets (33-43) @ Miami Heat (34-43)
Time: 4:30 PM PST
How to watch: SUN, SPSO
Notes: The Hornets enter the game with 3 key players battling injury. As of now, there is no official word on the status of Al Jefferson (knee), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (ankle), or Cody Zeller (shoulder). Of the three, MKG will most likely miss the game, while there is a chance we could see Jefferson and/or Zeller on the court. For the Heat, almost half of their roster are injured. Luol Deng (knee), Chris Anderson (foot), and Hassan Whiteside (hand) are questionable, Michael Beasley (knee) is doubtful, while Shabazz Naipier (hernia), Chris Bosh (blood clots), and Josh McRoberts (knee) are out. Both teams have been struggling as of late, with the Hornets going 4-6 in their last 10 games, and the Heat going 3-7 in their last 10, losers of 4 straight.
Impact: Despite recent struggles by both teams, they are still very much alive for the final 2 playoff spots in the East. They are both tied in the loss column, with 43. The Hornets own the tie-breaker between the two teams, regardless of the outcome of today's game (if the Heat win, the season series will be tied, which means it would come down to division record - Charlotte 8-6 to Miami 4-10). Both teams are currently 1 game back in the loss column to the Celtics, who are currently in 8th place, and 2 games back in the loss column to the Nets for 7th. And don't forget the Pacers, who are tied with the Hornets and Heat.