Boston lost to the Memphis Grizzlies today, 87-90. With this loss, the Celtics (.714) descend a notch in the Eastern standings beneath the Bulls (.729), and overall, beneath the Lakers (.718). The Lakers still hold onto second place in the West, but are now on third place overall. As of this writing, the NBA's top 10 stands as follows
- San Antonio, 57-14 (.803)
- Chicago, 51-19 (.729)
- L.A. Lakers 51-20 (.718)
- Boston, 50-20 (.714)
- Dallas, 49-21 (.700)
- Miami, 49-22 (.690)
- Oklahoma City 46-24 (.657)
- Orlando, 46-26 (.639)
- Denver 43-29 (.597)
- Atlanta, 40-32 (.556)
The Lakers continue to battle the Mavericks for 2nd place in the West. But while the final regular season standings will still be decided in mid-April, these two teams will be meeting in another possible playoff preview on March 31, when the Mavs visit the Lakers who are currently on a 5-game winning streak.
After the game against the Timberwolves on March 18, when an errant Bynum floored Michael Beasley, the Lakers had to face two teams without their young center. Andrew Bynum was meted a two-game suspension by the NBA, much to the chagrin of Phil Jackson and the Lakers.
Two days after the Beasley-affair, the Lakers faced the Portland Trailblazers and won, 84-80 behind a strong fourth quarter finish. This was followed by the game with the Phoenix Suns, where the Lakers once more eked out a two-point victory after three overtime periods, 139-137.
The Lakers will be rejoined by Andrew Bynum for the game against the Clippers on Friday. If Kobe and Co. would like to keep their advantage over the Mavericks and the Celtics, they will have to win the game against the Clippers. The Clippers is a dangerous opponent because it has nothing to lose. It has lost any opportunity for a playoff seeding and can put some damage on the current standing of the Lakers and its hopes of overtaking Chicago for homecourt advantage in a possible finals encounter.
The Mavericks are coming out of a win against the Warriors (March 20) and will be facing the Timberwolves on Thursday, March 24. They will then be on a road trip beginning March 26 that starts with Utah. They will face the Lakers the day after playing against the Clippers at the Staples Center.
Boston, which just lost to the 8th seed of the West -- the Grizzlies -- will be playing against the Bobcats on Friday, after which they go on a road trip that begins with the Timberwolves (March 27), goes through Indiana (March 2, passing San Antonio (March 31) and ending in Atlanta (April 1)
During the stretch that goes from March 27-31, the Lakers will only have two more games at their homecourt, one with CP3's Hornets and the biggie with the Mavericks.
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