Portland win over Memphis simplifies 7-8 race

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

By virtue of a 102-89 home victory against the Grizzlies that concluded minutes ago, the Trail Blazers made matters a bit clearer in the Western Conference race. Portland (48-33) sealed the No. 6 seed in the West, which renders the Blazers’ Wednesday visit to Golden State inconsequential to the seeding race.

The loss by Memphis (46-35) moved New Orleans (46-35) at least temporarily back into the No. 7 slot, while dropping the Grizzlies to No. 8. The two Southwest Division clubs will remain in those positions if either the Hornets win at Dallas on Wednesday (7 p.m., ESPN), or the Grizzlies lose at the Clippers on Wednesday (9:30, ESPN). If the Hornets lose to the Mavericks and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers, however, NOLA would drop to No. 8 and Memphis would move up to No. 7.

Meanwhile, the race for seeds 2 through 4 in the West remains uncertain. Here is the current situation:
2, L.A. LAKERS 56-25
Schedule: Wednesday at Sacramento
Possible seeds: 2 or 3
With either a win over the Kings, or a Mavericks loss to the Hornets, the Lakers will remain No. 2. The Lakers own the tiebreaker on the Thunder, meaning OKC can’t surpass L.A.

3, DALLAS 56-25
Schedule: Wednesday vs. New Orleans
Possible seeds: 2, 3 or 4
The Mavericks can move up to No. 2 with a win and a Lakers loss at the Kings. They also can drop to No. 4 with a loss and a Thunder win over the Bucks, because OKC owns the tiebreaker on Dallas.

4, OKLAHOMA CITY 55-26
Schedule: Wednesday vs. Milwaukee
Possible seeds: 3 or 4
The Thunder can move up to No. 3 with a win and a Mavericks loss to the Hornets.

With those three slots still up in the air, it means that the Hornets can still potentially play the Spurs (in the 1-8 matchup), Mavericks (in the 2-7 matchup) or Lakers (in the 2-7 matchup) in Round 1. As mentioned above, Oklahoma City can’t finish higher than No. 3, which now makes it impossible for New Orleans to be matched up against the Thunder.

As you can see, if the season ended at this moment, the seventh-seeded Hornets would face the second-seeded Lakers in Round 1. The only Wednesday scenario that would result in a Hornets-Mavericks opening-round series is this: 1) Dallas beats New Orleans; 2) Sacramento beats the Lakers; and 3) the Clippers beat Memphis. The only Wednesday scenario that would result in a Hornets-Spurs series is this: 1) Dallas beats New Orleans; and 2) Memphis beats the Clippers.






Grizzlies-Blazers will set stage for final day


Although the Hornets (46-35) aren’t in action Tuesday, there are two Western Conference games on the docket that should be of particular interest to New Orleans fans. Seventh-place Memphis (46-34) will visit seventh-place Portland (47-33) at 9 p.m. Central, while locked-in No. 1 seed San Antonio will tip off its game at the Los Angeles Lakers roughly a half hour later on TNT.

If Memphis prevails, New Orleans will still have a chance to finish as high as the No. 6 seed, but also can still be No. 7 or No. 8. If Portland wins, New Orleans can only be No. 7 or No. 8. Meanwhile, the Lakers are trying to keep pace with second-place Dallas, which has a half game edge on the Lakers but does not own that tiebreaking advantage.

Here is the extensive list of scenarios in the Western Conference, sent to us by the NBA this afternoon:
DALLAS will be seeded:
- #2 if Mavericks win and Lakers lose at least one game OR if Lakers lose both games and Thunder lose.
- #3 if Lakers win both games and Mavericks win OR if Lakers win at least one game and Thunder lose one game OR if Lakers lose both games and Thunder wins.
- #4 if Lakers win at least one game, Thunder wins and Mavericks lose.

LA LAKERS will be seeded:
- #2 if Lakers win both games OR if Lakers win one game and Mavericks lose.
- #3 if Lakers lose one game and Mavericks win OR if Lakers lose both games and Thunder loses.
- #4 if Lakers lose both games and Thunder wins

OKLAHOMA CITY will be seeded:
- #2 if Thunder wins, Lakers lose both games and Mavericks lose.
- #3 if Lakers win at least one game, Thunder wins and Mavericks lose OR if Lakers lose both games, Thunder wins and Mavericks win.
- #4 if Thunder loses OR if Lakers win at least one game and Mavericks win.

PORTLAND will be seeded:
- #6 if Blazers beat Grizzlies OR if Blazers beat Warriors and Grizzlies lose to Clippers.
- #7 if Blazers lose to Grizzlies but beat Warriors and Grizzlies beat Clippers OR if Grizzlies win both games and Hornets lose.
- #8 if Blazers lose both games and Hornets win.

MEMPHIS will be seeded:
- #6 if Grizzlies win both games OR if Blazers lose both games and Hornets lose.
- #7 if Grizzlies lose to Blazers and beat Clippers and Hornets lose OR Grizzlies beat Blazers and lose to Clippers, Hornets win and Blazers lose OR Grizzlies beat Blazers and lose to Clippers, Hornets lose and Blazers win.
- #8 if Grizzlies lose both games OR if Grizzlies lose to Blazers and Hornets win OR if Grizzlies beat Blazers and lose to Clippers and Hornets and Blazers win.

NEW ORLEANS will be seeded:
- #6 if Hornets win, Blazers lose both games and Grizzlies lose to Clippers.
- #7 if Hornets win and Blazers beat Grizzlies OR if Grizzlies lose both games OR if Hornets win and Grizzlies win both games and Blazers lose to Warriors OR if Hornets win, Blazers lose to Grizzlies and beat Warriors and Grizzlies lose to Clippers.
- #8 if Hornets lose and Grizzlies beat Blazers OR if Grizzlies win both games and Blazers beat Warriors OR if Hornets lose, Blazers beat Grizzlies and Grizzlies beat Clippers.