UTAH JAZZ

Western Conference Race Heats Up With Full Slate Of Tuesday Games

Apr 2, 2019, 4:34 PM
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) dribbles during an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Horne...
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) dribbles during an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 1, 2019. The Jazz won 111 to 102. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s a full night in the Western Conference with five of the eight playoff teams in action on Tuesday.

As it stands now, the Jazz sit in fifth place with five games to go. They’re two games behind the Houston Rockets for fourth place and home court advantage in the playoffs.

Portland, Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers do not play until Wednesday.

Here’s a look at the current standings and who each team is facing next in the homestretch of the season:

1. Golden State Warriors (52-24)

Next Up: vs. Denver Nuggets (51-25), Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on TNT.

First place in the Western Conference standings in on the line as the Warriors host the Denver Nuggets. Golden State is just one game ahead of Denver, with a loss to the Nuggets, would put them in a tie.

They have won five of their last seven games. Golden State lost the first meeting in Denver on October 21, with a 100-98 loss. They dominated the next game on January 15 in the Mile High City with a big 142-111 win. The last meeting was won by the Warriors in Oakland on March 8. It was another big victory for the defending champs, 122-105.

2. Denver Nuggets (51-25)

Games Behind: 1

Next Up: at Golden State Warriors (52-24), Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on TNT.

The Nuggets have struggled recently, losing three of their last five. Before that, they won six straight. They will need a win in Oakland over the Warriors to tie the season series and for first place in the Western Conference standings.

3. Portland Trail Blazers (48-28)

Games Behind: 3.5

Next Up: vs. Memphis Grizzlies (31-46), Wednesday

Portland picked up a big 132-122 road win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night. Rodney Hood scored 21 points to lead the Blazers. Damian Lillard added 15 points and 12 assists.

The Trail Blazers have now won 10 of their last 12 games.

4. Houston Rockets (49-28)

Games Behind: 3.5

Next Up: at Sacramento Kings (38-39), Tuesday

The Rockets have won seven of their last nine games and two straight. They beat the Kings at home on Saturday by 11 points, James Harden dropped 50 points. The first meeting was in Houston on November 17 with a 132-112 win for the Rockets. On February 6 in Sacramento, Houston picked up a 127-101 win.

Houston has five games remaining, three of them are playoff teams. The Jazz need some Rockets losses to climb up the standings and get home court advantage.

5. Utah Jazz (46-30)

Games Behind: 5.5

Next Up: at Phoenix Suns (18-60), Wednesday at 8 p.m. on AT&T SportsNet.

The Jazz needed 25 points from Donovan Mitchell, 20 points and 13 assists from Ricky Rubio, and 18 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks from Rudy Gobert to pick up the 111-102 win over the Charlotte Hornets, despite 47 points from Kemba Walker. Utah has won five straight and 10 of their last 11.

6. LA Clippers (47-31)

Games Behind: 6

Next Up: vs. Houston Rockets (49-28), Wednesday

7. San Antonio Spurs (44-33)

Games Behind: 8.5

Next Up: vs. Atlanta Hawks (28-49), Tuesday

After winning nine straight games, the Spurs have lost four of their last six games. They face an Atlanta Hawks team that is playing for pride at this point. San Antonio beat the Hawks in their first meeting this season on March 6 with a 111-104 victory.

8. Oklahoma City Thunder (44-33)

Games Behind: 8.5

Next Up: vs. Los Angeles Lakers (35-42), Tuesday

The Thunder are a mess right now. They have lost two straight and seven of their last nine games. Oklahoma City hopes to use the struggling Lakers as a springboard to get back on the winning track.

This will be the third and final meeting between these two teams.

They beat the Lakers on the road on January 2 with a 107-100 win. Los Angeles beat the Thunder on the road in overtime on January 17, 138-128.

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Western Conference Race Heats Up With Full Slate Of Tuesday Games