Da_mediumEvery night the playoff seeds out West shuffle a bit … with five pivotal games this evening, a shake-up once again is in order. Let’s take a look after the jump at who is facing off tonight.




The Nuggets, perhaps temporarily, took over the No. 2 seed last night with a big win over the Kobe Bryant/Andrew Bynum-less Lakers. The win was Denver’s fourth in a row and their second big comeback win in as many nights. With March Madness officially over, there has been complete chaos so far in the NBA’s Western Conference. Here is a look at the five matchups tonight that will directly impact the Nuggets …

Thanks to reader and Nuggets optimist jpage78 for reminding me to post this "Games of Interest" thread …

If the playoffs started today the Nuggets would play the San Antonio Spurs in Round 1 …


All game times are Mountain Time:

6:00 pm: Utah Jazz at New Orleans Hornets
The Jazz currently sit alone as the No. 5 seed with a record of 51-28 … a win tonight against a “nothing to really play for” Hornets team keeps the Jazz just one loss behind the Nuggets for the No. 2 seed and would help the Jazz not slip any further, for now, into a 6, 7 or 8 seed.

6:00 pm: Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves
Will Kobe Bryant suit-up tonight? Will the Lakers clinch the No. 1 spot with a win over a 15 win Timberwolves team? If they don’t take this one the Lakers still leave a tiny window open for the 27 loss Nuggets to maybe take the top spot … remember, Denver could tie the Lakers if they win out and L.A. loses out and the Nuggets own the season series tie breaker with Kobe and Company (3-1).

6:00 pm: Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder
The current No. 4 seed Suns travel to Loud City for a matchup with the sliding No. 8 seed Thunder. A win by Kevin Durant‘s squad would keep them alive to climb out of an anticipated first round matchup with the Lakers. A Suns loss would drop them to 28 losses and a full game behind the Nuggets for the No. 2 seed.

6:30 pm: Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs –
The No. 7 Spurs are in a must win game at home tonight. The Spurs travel to Denver tomorrow to face the Nuggets in a back-to-back set and really need a win over the Grizzlies to ensure they don’t drop into the No. 8 spot out West, should the Thunder win. The aging Spurs are catching fire right now and might be the most dangerous first-round match up out there.

8:00 pm: On NBA-TV … Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers
Our only nationally televised game (unless ESPN/TNT has picked one of the above games up). The Mavs play in Sacramento tomorrow night in a back-to-back set and desperately need to keep pace with the Nuggets for the No. 2 seed. The current No. 6 seed Blazers do not want to slide back to the No. 8 seed if they should lose coupled with a Spurs and Thunder win … the Blazers are tough at home (25-13), but the Mavs are road ready (24-13). It’d be nice to see our division rival Blazers hand us a gift with a win tonight.


Is your head dizzy? Mine is … take a look at the current standings here. We can all rest a little bit easier after the Nuggets two big comeback wins, but with three gams left to play … Denver is still in need of some help and some big wins.



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Photo courtesy of: AP Photos Tony Gutierrez