Enormous Consequences: Heat Vs. Bulls And The Wild West

Enormous Consequences is a daily look at the most impactful games in the NBA's playoff races.

Nearly every single game in the Western Conference has big playoff implications on a nightly basis, but all eyes will be on the East on Thursday night when the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat face off in a game that could be a virtual No. 1 seed eliminator for Miami. They're three games back of the Bulls, and you can more or less pencil them as the No. 2 seed if they lose on Thursday.

Derrick Rose is a game-time decision, and the Bulls have (shockingly!) struggled in some of their games against top opposition without Rose. However, they've proven they can win big games without him as well. Rose did not play the last time these two teams met back in March, and the Bulls won that game.

The first game of the night in the Western Conference features the Los Angeles Clippers against the Minnesota Timberwolves, which sounded a lot more interesting 24 hours ago than it does now. A Kevin Love - Blake Griffin showdown would have been great, except Love took an elbow to the head on Wednesday night and probably won't play in this game. The Clippers currently sit in fourth place and could very easily move up or down a spot in the standings in the coming days.

Some of the best basketball of the night can be found in Texas, where the San Antonio Spurs are fighting for the No. 1 seed against the Memphis Grizzlies, who would like to at least move up to the No. 4 seed and secure home court advantage for the first round. This game is on local television and League Pass while the Golden State Warriors play on national television for the second consecutive night. Why is this allowed?

As irrelevant as the Warriors are at the moment, they are playing a very relevant team, the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. They've been in the news more for Lamar Odom's departure than they have been for playing basketball games, but they're currently in sixth place in the West. The 6-8 seeds in the West all have the same record while the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns lurk close behind, so every game is crucial for the Mavs.

SPOILER ALERT

Heat at BULLS
CLIPPERS at Timberwolves
Grizzlies at SPURS
MAVERICKS at Warriors

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