NBA playoff picture: Lakers and Jazz both lose, keeping race for West No. 8 static

USA TODAY Sports

Both the Lakers and Jazz were unable to close out close games, resulting in a pair of losses for two teams battling for the final playoff spot in the West.

If the San Antonio Spurs have any concerns about a first-round playoff match-up against the Los Angeles Lakers, they sure didn't show it on Friday night.

The Spurs chose not to rest any starters when they faced the Utah Jazz, instead welcoming back point guard Tony Parker to go full throttle and eventually beat Utah in overtime. The Jazz entered the game outside of playoff position in the Western Conference but very much still in the mix, just a game-and-a-half behind the Lakers for the eighth spot in the West.

Instead of trying to influence the race for eighth place, the Spurs took care of business to maintain a two-and-a-half game lead at the top of the conference standings.

By the end of the night, the Jazz were no worse off after the Lakers let an 18-point lead slip away before losing at home to the Washington Wizards, 103-100. The frustrating loss for the Lakers didn't set them back in the standings but continued to stall their efforts to move up and catch the Houston Rockets for seventh place.

The Rockets rolled to an easy win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to extend their lead over the Lakers to two-and-a-half games with 13 games left in the regular season for Houston. The Lakers will have to keep an eye on the rearview mirror with 12 games remaining compared to Utah's 13 games since the Jazz only have one more loss than the Lakers.

Both teams hit the road for their next games, with the Lakers playing the Golden State Warriors on Monday night and the Jazz playing the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.


Western Standings

GP W-L PCT
San Antonio Spurs 69 53-16 .768
Oklahoma City Thunder 70 51-19 .729
Denver Nuggets 70 48-22 .686
Los Angeles Clippers 69 47-22 .681
Memphis Grizzlies 68 46-22 .676
Golden State Warriors 70 39-31 .557
Houston Rockets 69 38-31 .551
Los Angeles Lakers 70 36-34 .514
Utah Jazz 69 34-35 .493
Dallas Mavericks 69 33-36 .478
Portland Trail Blazers 69 33-36 .478
Sacramento Kings 69 25-44 .362
Minnesota Timberwolves 67 24-43 .358
New Orleans Hornets 70 24-46 .343
Phoenix Suns 70 23-47 .329


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