San Antonio Spurs 114, Phoenix Suns 97
If the Spurs win four of their last five games, they finish the season as the top seed in the NBA. In fact, they could lose to the Lakers next week and have it not matter, since their other four games are very winnable. It’s that easy.
Denver Nuggets 95, Los Angeles Lakers 90
Six straight wins for the Nuggets, and it doesn’t even bother me that four came against the Raptors, Wizards and Kings. That’s because the other two were against the Spurs and Lakers, meaning this team is going to be serious in the playoffs and that’s pretty exciting.
Boston Celtics 101, Detroit Pistons 90
Shaquille O’Neal played his first game since February 1, scoring six points in five-and-a-half minutes before leaving with a new leg injury because 39-year-old 300-pounders should not be jumping. Standard Shaq performance, really.
Miami Heat 108, New Jersey Nets 94
At one point Sasha Vujacic was guarding LeBron James. That’s when you knew that this game was over. Another time: the tip-off.
New York Knicks 123, Cleveland Cavaliers 107
The Knicks finally clinched a playoff spot, proving once and for all that the Carmelo Anthony trade was totally worth it. Any time you can wrap up the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed by trading away several players and draft picks, you’ve got to make a Bill Simmons joke.
Sacramento Kings 106, Utah Jazz 97
The Kings’ last two games in Sacramento are against the Thunder and Lakers, so this might have been their last win in California’s capitol. Here’s hoping for a little poetic justice, with Sactown avenging their 2002 playoffs loss to Los Angeles in their last game at Power Balance Pavilion. Would be a nice send-off.
Toronto Raptors 102, Orlando Magic 98
Hey Orlando Magic, you lost a game to the Raptors, who didn’t even have their starting center or point guard playing. Whoops.
Washington Wizards 97, Charlotte Bobcats 91
Want to know how to tell if a team is going to make a run to the playoffs? If they lose a game at home to the Wizards while having Matt Carroll lead the team in scoring, the answer is no.
Houston Rockets 114, Atlanta Hawks 109
The Rockets have won eight of 10 and sit just three games out of the last Western Conference playoff spot. Howevsies, they only have five games left, meaning they need either the Hornets or Grizzlies to go on a major losing streak. Not happening.
New Orleans Hornets 108, Indiana Pacers 96
Jeff Foster and Chris Paul bashed knees, leaving Paul crumpled on the floor, just weeks after the Hornets lost David West to a season-ending knee injury. Paul was fine, but that’s just classic Jeff Foster — always ruining things in the most bro way.
Portland Trail Blazers 104, Dallas Mavericks 96
Possible playoff preview, as these two teams would meet in the first round if the season ended today. I would be OK with that, but the Mavs might not be.