Nobody seems to want the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks both lost on Thursday night, and Kobe Bryant now has a bone spur in his left foot that will need to be examined. The Utah Jazz made the biggest moves on Thursday, and they didn't even play a game. The Lakers hold a half-game lead over Utah for the final playoff spot, while the Mavs sit 1.5 games out of the No. 8 seed.
ESPN playoff odds now peg the Lakers with a 50.5 percent chance of taking the last spot, but that doesn't account for any injury that could slow down Kobe. The Jazz (35.4 percent odds) and Mavericks (12.3 percent odds) are still very much alive in the playoff race.
The Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks were the only two Eastern Conference playoff teams to play on Thursday, and both teams won. The Bucks were responsible for knocking off the Lakers, and with the win they pulled within two games of the Boston Celtics for the No. 7 seed. The Bucks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker, so if they match Boston they will avoid a date with the Heat.
Meanwhile, the Pacers knocked off the Mavericks to move a half-game ahead of the Knicks for the No. 2 spot. Indiana announced that Danny Granger (knee) will be shut down for the remainder of the season, but they have played well without him for most of the year. The Knicks and Pacers are in a battle to see who will start the playoffs on the opposite side of the bracket from the Miami Heat.
|San Antonio Spurs||71||54-17||.761|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||72||53-19||.736|
|Los Angeles Clippers||72||49-23||.681|
|Golden State Warriors||73||41-32||.562|
|Los Angeles Lakers||73||37-36||.507|
|Portland Trail Blazers||71||33-38||.465|
|New Orleans Hornets||72||25-47||.347|
|New York Knicks||70||44-26||.629|