Well, this time tomorrow it will all be over. We will know the answers to the test.
Eighty-two games, a bunch of twist and turns, some injuries along the way (a few minor ones, a couple fairly catastrophic ones, one that is still a TBD until they take the training wheels off of Dwight Howard). It's really incredible when you think about it, just how razor thin the margin is between hope and despair in the NBA.
Every game, every shot, will in some way wind up counting this season, and by tomorrow morning we will know who comes out ahead. And of course, I'm talking about this:
Terrence Jones .. 61 percent Dwight Howard .. 53 percent Josh Smith .. 52 percent Joey Dorsey .. 28 percent Clint Capela .. 11 percent
Yes, by tomorrow morning, we will know who the most mystifyingly crappy free throw shooter is among the Rockets' big men! It's the Amazing Race (of Clank)!
Just kidding, although that is a scary list to look at. Playoff games could take three hours this season if they play the Spurs and Popovich starts cold hacking people. (And I didn't even include Donatas Motiejunas and his 60 percent shooting. I see you, D-Mo! Your discectomy doesn't get you off the hook, my friend!)
Ok, heading into tonight here's what the standings look like:
1. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS .. 66-15 2. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS .. 56-26 3. SAN ANTONIO SPURS .. 55-26 4. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS .. 51-30 5. HOUSTON ROCKETS .. 55-26 6. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES .. 54-27 7. DALLAS MAVERICKS -- 49-32 8. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS .. 44-37 9. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER .. 44-37
Ok, here are the things we KNOW:
* Golden State has clinched the one seed (this sentence has been applicable since, like, Christmas), Portland will be the four seed (being in a crappy division has its privileges), Dallas will be the seven seed (yay, Dallas), and New Orleans wins a tie breaker for the eight seed.
* The Clippers can be no worse than the three seed.
* Because the NBA has some sort of feitsh about making the divisions important, Portland will begin the playoffs on the road, even though they are the higher seed. So the five seed is actually not a horrible place for the Rockets to be. And by the way, get used to the five seed, as this is the most likely scenario.
Ok, here are the remaining schedules of the four aforementioned teams duking it out for the two, three, five, and six seeds:
2. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26) Regular season complete
3. San Antonio Spurs (55-26) Wed, Apr 15 @ New Orleans
5. Houston Rockets (55-26) Wed, Apr 15 vs Utah
6. Memphis Grizzlies (54-27) Wed, Apr 15 vs Indiana
Here's what we need to know for tonight:
* If the Rockets lose to the Jazz, aside from having horrific flashbacks to John Stockton ripping our hearts out in 1997, the only way the Rockets avoid the sixth seed is for Indiana to knock off Memphis in Memphis (which actually isn't THAT crazy a thought). But let's keep it positive!
* If the Rockets win tonight against the Jazz, they will clinch at least the five seed (we see you, Portland!). However, if the Pelicans rise up and beat the Spurs in New Orleans tonight, the Rockets would vault all the way back to the two seed, winning the tie breaker against the Clippers by virtue of winning the Southwest Division!
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SHOW ME HOW
* The Spurs are five point favorites tonight in New Orleans, worth noting.
* One other rooting interest for tonight, Rockets fans -- hope that OKC stays focused and knocks off the Timberwolves in Minnesota, so that a losing Pelicans team tonight doesn't still clinch a playoff spot. Why? Because the Rockets own the Pelicans first round pick from the Omer Asik deal, and the difference in where that pick sits is about five slots (14th up to around 19th), depending on whether or not the Pelicans are in the lottery.
I know that's a lot of thinking. Don't worry. It'll all be over in 24 hours, kid.