The Los Angeles Lakers reclaimed the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference on Tuesday, and they will look to go up a full game on the Utah Jazz when they take on the scuffling Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday.
Kobe Bryant was dynamite in the Lakers' 104-96 win over the New Orleans Hornets, scoring 23 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. The Utah Jazz had lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier in the evening, so the Lakers now hold a half game lead for that eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
The Blazers have been really struggling of late, having lost eight games in a row. Seven of those eight losses have come by double-digits, with Sunday's 96-91 loss to the Dallas Mavericks being the lone outlier. Portland may be without Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Hickson.
Elsewhere out West, the Denver Nuggets will be hosting the San Antonio Spurs in a matchup of two of the top teams in the West. Both teams are battling injuries, with Ty Lawson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw all banged up to go along with Danilo Gallinari's recent ACL tear.
In the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets will look to take another step toward securing homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs when they take on the Boston Celtics. The Nets are currently three games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the No. 4 seed in the East.
Here's the full 10-game NBA schedule for Wednesday via SI.com (all times Eastern):
Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics, 8 p.m.
Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks, 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m.
New Orleans Hornets at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m.
San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets, 10:30 p.m.