Western Conference Playoff Report: April 14th

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo

Never trust the Lakers.

Back in the mid 1980s there was only one thing I loved more than van surfing - and that was basketball.  When I used to play my old coach (Coach Finstock if you're familiar) had just four rules for ensuring your life was cream cheese:  (1) never get less than twelve hours sleep; (2) never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; (3) never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body; and (4) never, ever trust the Lakers to do anything good for you.

It was that 4th rule that was the most important.

To keep things as simple for all of us as is possible here is the way the Phoenix Suns can still make the playoffs:

  • Beat Memphis tonight.
  • Beat Sacramento Wednesday
  • Dallas beats Memphis on Wednesday. 

Now most of us have become resigned to the fact that Dallas will have the 7 seed sewn up in that scenario and thus no motivation to play their starters signifigant minutes - if at all.  Yet in a season of wrinkles there's one more wrinkle left to....unwrinkle?

Should the Golden State Warriors lose their home game tonight against Minnesota - a team I'm assured is amazing based on their point differential -  then Dallas will go into their road game with Memphis on Wednesday with a shot at jumping the Full Squad for the 6 seed and the right to avoid Oklahoma City.  Dallas would still need to hope Golden State loses their game to Denver on the same night but the Mavs game starts 2 and a half hours before the Denver/GSW contest.

So you know - there's sort of a chance.

Sunday April 13th Key Western Conference Results:

Memphis Grizzlies 102 Los Angeles Lakers 90 (Recap) - Considering I had little to no hope for the Lakers pulling this game out my viewing of this contest was passive at best.  For that reason I did not permit myself to enjoy a glimmer of excitement when the Lakers held a 9 point lead in the middle of the 2nd quarter, nor did I jump for joy when they briefly held a 1 point lead in the 3rd.  During a 34-17 dominating swing in the third quarter the Grizzlies proved why I should have no trust in the Lakers and won the game going away.

Mike Conley had 24 to lead Memphis while Marc Gasol added 18 points and 15 rebounds.  Wesley Johnson played 40 minutes last night - if that alone isn't enough to get a "what did you expect" then I'm not sure what is.

On the mild plus side, Conley and Gasol played 35 and 36 minutes respectively which is more than the "come out of the tip off, score a bunch, and laugh our way to the bench" that I expected.

Current Western Conference Standings:

TEAM W L PCT GB L10 STREAK
1.San Antonio
62 18 .775 - 8-2 WON 2
2. Oklahoma City
58 22 .725 4
6-4 LOST 1
3. LA Clippers
56 24 .700 6 7-3 WON 1
4. Houston 53 27 .663 9 5-5 WON 1
5. Portland
53 28 .654 9 8-2 WON 4
6. Golden State
49 31 .613 13 5-5 LOST 1
7. Dallas
49 32 .605 13.5 7-3 WON 1
8. Memphis
48 32 .600 14
6-4 WON 3
- SUNS
47 33 .588 15 6-4 LOST 2

Monday April 14th Western Conference Games of Significance:

Grizzlies @ Suns - Last home game of the season.  Win and the Suns stay alive for at least two more days - lose and it's completely over.  Memphis has already beaten the Suns three times this season, all three without their best player.  If there was ever a time to turn the tide, this would be it.  Considering Goran Dragic is still playing on a bum ankle and the quotes from Saturday made it seem like all the team's eggs were in that basket - I've reverted to my standard lack of optimism for this one.

Timberwolves @ Warriors -  This one tips a half hour after the Suns game.  As stated above this would matter in that should Minnesota pull off the upset, Dallas could potentially be playing for the 6 seed on Wednesday.

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