With a little under three weeks left in the NBA season, there’s a battle going out West to see who lands that most desired eighth and Final Playoff spot.
The Los Angeles Lakers (37-36), Utah Jazz (36-36), Dallas Mavericks (35-37), and Portland Trail Blazers (33-38) are all vying to be the lucky team to most likely face the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder, who are currently the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Western Conference. The Lakers are currently the 8th seed in the West with a ½ game lead over the Utah Jazz.
It’s been a roller coaster type of season for all of these teams, none more so than the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers came into the 2012 campaign aspiring to be a championship caliber team after acquiring All-Star Center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic and former 2x MVP Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers started out the season firing their Head Coach Mike Brown and have been plagued with injuries throughout the season. Superstar guard Kobe Bryant guaranteed the Lakers would make the playoffs, so we’ll see if the Lakers can keep that promise.
The Dallas Mavericks started out the year without their leader and 2011 Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki for the first 27 games due to knee surgery. The Mavs stumbled out of the gate, posting a 13-23 record and looked like a lottery bound team. Since January 9th, the Mavericks are 23-14 and have put the NBA on notice, making them a legit threat to grab that Final Playoff Spot.
Utah and Portland have also experienced an up and down season. A couple weeks back, Utah was primed to clinch a playoff birth and once sat alone as the 6th seed in the Western Conference standings. A brutal 11 game stretch (where the Jazz were on the road for 8 of those games) forced the Jazz to fall out of the top 8 seeds in the West.
Portland has been flirting with .500 basketball the whole season and has never caught steam to catch up with the rest of the playoff bound teams. They are currently 3 games out of the last playoff spot and are still fighting for position. Portland and Utah still have 2 critical games against each other, which will definitely play a part in the grand scheme of things.
Here is a breakdown of the team’s final games remaining:
Los Angeles Lakers (6 Home, 3Away)
- @ Sacramento Kings (March 30th)
- Dallas Mavericks (April 2nd)
- Memphis Grizzlies (April 5th)
- @ Los Angeles Clippers (April 7th)
- New Orleans Hornets (April 9th)
- @ Portland Trail Blazers (April 10th)
- Golden State Warriors (April 12th)
- San Antonio Spurs (April 14th)
- Houston Rockets (April 17th)
Utah Jazz (6 Home, 4 Away)
- @ Portland Trail Blazers (March 29th)
- Brooklyn Nets (March 30th)
- Denver Nuggets (April 3rd)
- New Orleans Hornets (April 5th)
- @ Golden State Warriors (April 7th)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (April 9th)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (April 12th)
- @ Minnesota Timberwolves (April 15th)
- @ Memphis Grizzlies (April 17th)
Dallas Mavericks (5 Home, 5 Away)
- Chicago Bulls (March 30th)
- @ Los Angeles Lakers (April 2nd)
- @ Denver Nuggets (April 4th)
- @ Sacramento Kings (April 5th)
- @ Portland Trail Blazers (April 7th)
- Phoenix Suns (April 10th)
- Denver Nuggets (April 12th)
- @ New Orleans Hornets (April 14th)
- Memphis Grizzlies (April 16th)
- New Orleans Hornets (April 17th)
Portland Trail Blazers (7 Home, 4 Away)
- Utah Jazz (March 29th)
- @ Golden State Warriors (March 30th)
- @ Utah Jazz (April 1st)
- Memphis Grizzlies (April 3rd)
- Houston Rockets (April 5th)
- Dallas Mavericks (April 7th)
- Los Angles Lakers (April 10th)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (April 12th)
- @ Denver Nuggets (April 14th)
- @ Los Angles Clippers (April 16th)
- Golden State Warriors (April 17th)
It’s going to be an interesting two and a half weeks and surely one of these teams will rise up and grab that final playoff spot only to win a date with the Spurs or Thunder.
Good luck with that.