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Western Conference Playoff Report: April 2nd

Steph Curry's overtime heroics place the Suns back above the playoff line.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday night the Suns were embarrassed by the Los Angeles Lakers.  Even after that loss the Suns sat in 7th place in the Western Conference standings.  Monday night was an off night for the Suns but Memphis won and dropped the Suns from 7th to 9th.  Last night was another off night for our guys but a Dallas loss put them back up into 8th.

So if you're following all of that - the Suns went from 7th to 9th to 8th without playing once.  Playing in the Western Conference is simultaneously very fun and the worst.

Tuesday April 1st Key Western Conference Results:

Golden State Warriors 122 Dallas Mavericks 120 (Recap) -  This was a really, really big one for the Suns.  In potentially one of the better games of the NBA season, Golden State and Dallas traded haymakers for the first three quarters.  The Warriors led by 9 after a quarter, the Mavs outscored the Warriors by 18 in the 2nd, and the Warriors returned the favor by outscoring Dallas by 13 in the 3rd and math tells us that gives the Dubs a 4 point lead going into the 4th.  In that tight 4th frame, Dallas had a 5 point lead with just 3:24 remaining but on the back of a couple Klay Thompson threes down the stretch and a few blown game winner opportunities we headed to overtime.  In OT, Dallas jumped out to a 117-113 lead but Golden State closed the gap and set up Steph Curry for this game winner:

The loss caps Dallas' 8 game homestand which saw them go just 4-4.  They now have 4 road games in a row (@Clippers, @Lakers, @Kings, @Jazz) before facing the Spurs, Suns at home and visiting the Grizz to close the season.

Portland Trail Blazers 124 Los Angeles Lakers 112 (Recap) -  A playoff team that shows up to play the Lakers in the last couple weeks of the season and takes care of business - who knew.  Former Dallas Mavericks point guard Steve Nash briefly returned to the court last night for the Lakers and actually had the Lakers ahead for a portion of the 2nd quarter.  Then in what has become par for the course for the decaying body of the Santa Clara alum he left the game with injury on two separate occasions.  For the Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge scored 31 points on 20 shots and grabbed 15 rebounds as he led Portland to their 4th straight win.  After slogging through much of March and looking like a potential playoff casualty the Blazers have brought themselves within just 1.5 games of injury-plauged Houston for the 4th spot in the West.

Current Western Conference Standings:

1.San Antonio
58 16 .784 - 10-0 WON 18
2. Oklahoma City
54 19 .740 3.5
8-2 WON 2
3. LA Clippers
53 22 .707 5.5 8-2 WON 3
4. Houston 49 24 .671 8.5 5-5 LOST 2
5. Portland
49 27 .645 10 6-4 WON 4
6. Golden State
46 28 .622 12 6-4 WON 1
7. Memphis 
44 30 .595 14 6-4 WON 1
44 30 .595 14
8-2 LOST 1
-  Dallas
44 31 .587 14.5 6-4 LOST 1

Tuesday April 1st Western Conference Games of Significance:

Clippers @ Suns - Both Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford are listed as doubtful for tonight which would be an extremely large break for Phoenix.  However, if the Suns play with the listless effort that got them smashed by the Lakers F Squad on Sunday then Chris Paul and whomever else the Clippers play will be plenty.  I rarely if ever have a positive feeling about a specific game but I do on this one.  If the Suns come out and fight they really should win this game.

Grizzlies @ Timberwolves -  This game certainly isn't a gimme for a Grizzlies team that has struggled with the Jazz and Nuggets recently.  My expectation is that Memphis will trail by like 8 in the 4th quarter and come back to win by 2.  It's becoming predictable.

Warriors @ Spurs -  One night after being ecstatic that the Warriors topped Dallas we'll return to our regularly scheduled Warrior-bashing.  That said, even if San Antonio extends their win streak to 19 tonight the Full Squad's Final 6 games are v. Utah, v. Denver, @Lakers, @Portland, v. Minnesota, @Denver.  Logic would suggest they'll skate into the playoffs.

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