An eventful weekend put the picture of the Western Conference Playoffs into focus. A little. Slightly. Kind of. A quick review of where we’re at with the 6, 7 and 8 seeds after the weekend…
First, the big news. The Lakers lost Kobe Bryant late in their game Friday night to a ruptured achilles that will keep him out for 6-9 months. This has all sorts of implications. Never mind basketball, but karma. It could finally be catching up with Kobe and the Lakers. Should Dwight Howard’s shoulders fall off or Pau Gasol and Steve Nash’s collective maladies completely overwhelm them, the effect on L.A.’s personality wouldn’t be as great as Kobe getting caught by Father Time or Colorado Karma finally catching up with him and his attempts to will the listless Lakers into the Playoff Picture.
The Lakers held on to defeat the Golden State Warriors and then somehow bested the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday to take a game and a half lead over the Utah Jazz and essentially control their own playoff destiny as the Lakers close out their regular season Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets and, with a win, will be the West’s #8 seed.
The Rockets are in a tie with the Golden State Warriors for the 6th seed and the right not to play whoever ends up at the #2 seed, either the Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder. Golden State hosts the Spurs Monday before heading to play the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday.
If the Rockets defeat the Lakers, the Jazz must beat both the Wolves tonight and the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday in order to make the Playoffs. The Rockets have that motivation of avoiding whoever the #2 seed may be, however.
Monday night, Houston plays a Phoenix Suns team that has lost 17 0f its last 20 games. So things could get interesting.