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NBA Western Conference Playoff Report (April 10th): Steady As She Goes

Hi everyone. I don't really remember how to begin a blog post since it's been like a year so I'll just say this - Trevor Ruffin, Ian Lockhart, and Kenny Battle. What do those 3 former Phoenix Suns have in common? Probably nothing.

Smooth transition

So did everyone notice that we're in the thick of a playoff race in the Western Conference? That's pretty fantastic, no? The regular season ends in 16 days and the Suns are going to play 9 games in that span of time. Things are as tightly packed as something which is by its nature very tightly packed.

9 of the Western Conferences Top 10 teams were in action last night and unfortunately for our beloved Phoenix Suns pretty much all of the relevant players in our part of the race reigned victorious. Here are last night's results:

Los Angeles Lakers 93, New Orleans Hornets 91: Kobe didn't play again but the Hornets are like really, really bad at basketball. Something called a Devin Ebanks started in the place of the guy who once scored 81 points in a game and the Lakers were carried by Pau Gasol's 25. NOLA actually led this game by 8 with 6:03 to play in the game but then forgot to keep scoring. The win helped LA create some separation from their Staples Center roommates for the Pacific Division crown.

Oklahoma City Thunder 109, Milwaukee Bucks 89: The Oklahoma City Preening We Refuse to Act Like We've Been There Beforers (rolls off the tounge nicely) opened up a 35-18 first quarter gash on Milwaukee and never looked back. Monta Ellis shot 3-12 for the Bucks and, in surprise news - Monta Ellis only shot 12 times in a game. Russell Westbrook led the winners with 26 points and probably puffed his chest out and did some sort of faux tough guy face on all of his 11 baskets.

Memphis Grizzlies 94, Los Angeles Clippers 85: Somebody woke the Grizzlies from their bear sleep and they've won 8 of their last 10 while tallying wins over Miami, Oklahoma City, the Clips, Lakers, and probably the 1986 Celtics. Marc Gasol led this balanced effort with 18 points and 5 other Grizzly professional basketball players scored in double figures. Blake Griffin had 19 points but probably no highlight dunks otherwise you'd have seen them 697,426 times by now.

Denver Nuggets 123, Golden State Warriors 84: My effort level for this paragraph will reflect that of the Golden State Warriors. Uh, Denver won by a lot, avenging a loss from last week. Danilo Gallinari came back but Al Harrington tore his meniscus probably. That's it.

Phoenix Suns 114, Minnesota Timberwolves 90: You all know what happened in this game and if you don't then just scroll down or click this link: Recap

Utah Jazz 91, San Antonio Spurs 84: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker all sat this one out. In not so breaking news, the Spurs aren't as good without Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. "Former All-Star" Devin Harris (yes the quotes were necessary as unless you remember seeing it then it didn't happen) led the Jazz with 25.

Houston Rockets 94, Portland Trail Blazers 89: Anyone know who Portland's head coach is without googling it? Didn't think so. If you didn't figure it out from having Seth Pollack ram it down your throat repeatedly - Goran Dragic has developed quite nicely for the Rockets and he led them again last night with 22 points and 7 assists. Portland played both Hasheem Thabeet and Jonny Flynn last night, which would indicate to me that they weren't trying that hard.

So where does that leave everything? Here are your standings for April 10th, 2012:

Western Conference Standings:

TEAM W L PCT GB L10 STREAK
1. Oklahoma City
42 15 .737 - 7-3 WON2
2. San Antonio
40 15 .727 1
9-1 LOST 1
3. LA Lakers
36 22
.621 6.5 6-4 WON 1
4. LA Clippers
34 23
.596 8
8-2 LOST 1
5. Memphis
33 23 .589 8.5 8-2 WON 3
6. Houston
32 25 .561 10 7-3 WON 4
7. Dallas
31 26 .544 11 4-6 LOST 2
8. Denver
31 26 .544 11
5-5 WON 1

- SUNS

30 27 .526 12 7-3 WON 2
- Utah
30 28 .517 12.5
4-6 WON 1

See what I was saying about things being tight? They totally are. Almost no room for error for any of the teams listed above. Tonight's schedule is pretty light:

April 10th Western Conference Games (that are relevant):

Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks: The Kings are 5-23 on the road this season, so barring a complete collapse from Dallas I'd expect to lose a half game to the Mavs tonight. On the plus side for Suns fans, this is the last game the human sacrifice that is the Sacramento Kings has with anyone in the 6th through 10th spots in the West.

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