NBA playoff picture: Grizzlies gain on Thunder, Jazz pushed further from Rockets, Lakers


The playoff picture in the Western Conference is starting to clear up, which is bad news for the Utah Jazz.

The Memphis Grizzlies knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime on Wednesday night -- thanks to a last-second tip-in by Marc Gasol -- and the game carried some playoff weight in the Western Conference.

Memphis is the current No. 3 seed in the bracket, and with the win the team earned the head-to-head tiebreaker over the No. 2 seed Thunder. OKC now sits just three games up on the Grizzlies, which is effectively two games (due to the tiebreaker rules). Grizzly Bear Blues is understandably ecstatic about the big win.

Unfortunately for the Utah Jazz, they suffered another tough loss on Wednesday. James Harden and Jeremy Lin combined for 53 points on 27 shots as Houston dispatched the Jazz and moved 1.5 games up on the Lakers for the No. 7 spot. Rockets blog The Dream Shake is excited about the win, especially because the team gets a night off before taking on a banged-up Cavaliers team at home.

For Utah, it was the team's seventh loss in the last 10 games, and now the Lakers hold a 1.5 game lead over the Jazz for the final spot in the playoff bracket.

Meanwhile, the Spurs won their 29th-straight home game against Golden State Warriors -- a streak that dates back to Valentine's Day, 1997 -- and the Clippers earned a 29-point blowout win over the hapless Sixers to keep pace with the Grizzlies.

Western Standings

San Antonio Spurs 68 52-16 .765
Oklahoma City Thunder 69 50-19 .725
Memphis Grizzlies 67 46-21 .687
Los Angeles Clippers 69 47-22 .681
Denver Nuggets 69 47-22 .681
Golden State Warriors 70 39-31 .557
Houston Rockets 68 37-31 .544
Los Angeles Lakers 69 36-33 .522
Utah Jazz 68 34-34 .500
Dallas Mavericks 68 32-36 .471
Portland Trail Blazers 67 31-36 .463
Minnesota Timberwolves 65 23-42 .354
Sacramento Kings 68 24-44 .353
Phoenix Suns 69 23-46 .333
New Orleans Hornets 69 23-46 .333

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