Twenty-eight of the league's 30 teams will be in action on Friday night, which means the playoff picture in each conference could be in for some shakeups. With so few games remaining on the schedule, every win or loss feels like it exerts a seismic force on teams at the fringes of their preferred spot in the bracket. A win by the Lakers over the Warriors and a Jazz loss to the Timberwolves would practically end Utah's season. The inverse set of results would breathe new life into the Jazz. It's a delicate balance for a lot of NBA teams at the moment.
The Indiana Pacers sit two games behind the Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the East, and they will start the night off by hosting the No. 4 seed Nets. The No. 8 seed Bucks will later take on the Hawks, but at this point the game only matters to Atlanta. The Hawks are a half-game behind the Bulls for the No. 5 seed.
In the Western Conference, the Rockets are now just a half-game behind the Warriors for the No. 6 seed, but they need to knock off a tough Grizzlies team if they hope to make up any ground. The Lakers will have one eye on the Jazz game, because the race for the No. 8 seed in the West could change completely if things break in Utah's favor on Friday.
Here's a look at the full schedule:
|AWAY||HOME||TIME (ET)||NATIONAL TV||AWAY TV||HOME TV|
|Nets||Pacers||7:00 PM||YES Network||FOX Sports Indiana|
|Celtics||Heat||7:30 PM||NBATV||CSN-NewEngland||Sun Sports|
|Knicks||Cavaliers||7:30 PM||MSG||FOX Sports Ohio|
|Bobcats||Pistons||7:30 PM||SportsSouth-Charlotte||FOX Sports Detroit|
|Clippers||Hornets||8:00 PM||FOX Sports Prime Ticket||FOX Sports New Orleans|
|Nuggets||Mavericks||8:30 PM||Altitude||FOX Sports Southwest-Dallas|
|Kings||Spurs||8:30 PM||CSN-California||FOX Sports Southwest+|
|Timberwolves||Jazz||9:00 PM||Root Sports Utah|
|Thunder||Blazers||10:00 PM||NBATV||FOX Sports Oklahoma||CSN-Portland|
|Warriors||Lakers||10:30 PM||CSN-BayArea||TWC Sportsnet|