With Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks falling 109-100 to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, the Phoenix Suns now hold the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, .003 percentage points ahead of Dallas and a full game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies. The Suns are a game up in the loss column on both teams and control their own destiny out West, playing Dallas and Memphis on Saturday and the following Monday, respectively. The Mavs close out their season on the road in Memphis.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors lost to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. The Warriors allowed Kenneth Faried to hit a game-winning shot with 0.5 seconds left on the clock, losing the game by a point and keeping them from getting any closer to clinching a playoff spot. They now have just a one-game lead on the Suns and Mavericks.
Western Conference Playoff Standings
|1. San Antonio Spurs||61||18||0.772||---|
|2. Oklahoma City Thunder||57||21||0.731||3½|
|3. L.A. Clippers||55||24||0.696||6|
|4. Houston Rockets||52||26||0.667||8½|
|5. Portland Trail Blazers||51||28||0.646||10|
|6. Golden State Warriors||48||30||0.615||12½|
|7. Phoenix Suns||47||31||0.603||13½|
|8. Dallas Mavericks||48||32||0.600||13½|
|9. Memphis Grizzlies||46||32||0.590||14½|
Things have leveled off in the East, with games in the last six days set to determine playoff seeding and not much more. Unless the Atlanta Hawks suffer a catastrophic breakdown and the Knicks find a way to beat the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors twice, it looks as though the race for the final playoff spot is settled.
On Friday, all 15 Eastern Conference teams play so there should be at least some kind of stratification going into the weekend. The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers square off in Florida, a hopeful foray into the never-ending saga that has seen both teams try and lose their way out of first place. Meanwhile, Atlanta and Brooklyn go head-to-head in the only other matchup between two East playoff teams.
Eastern Conference Playoff Standings
|1. Indiana Pacers||54||25||0.684||---|
|2. Miami Heat||53||25||0.679||½|
|3. Toronto Raptors||46||32||0.590||7½|
|4. Chicago Bulls||46||32||0.590||7½|
|5. Brooklyn Nets||43||35||0.551||10½|
|6. Charlotte Bobcats||40||38||0.513||13½|
|7. Washington Wizards||40||38||0.513||13½|
|8. Atlanta Hawks||35||43||0.449||18½|
|9. New York Knicks||33||45||0.423||20½|