Every Team In West Has Critical Game On Friday

Apr 5, 2019, 12:58 PM
Thabo Sefolosha #22 of the Utah Jazz high fives Joe Ingles #2 after Ingles hit a three-point shot a...
Thabo Sefolosha #22 of the Utah Jazz high fives Joe Ingles #2 after Ingles hit a three-point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on April 03, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz could inch closer to home-court advantage in the first round of playoffs with a win over the Sacramento Kings and some other teams helping them out.

As it stands now, the Jazz sit in fifth place with four games to go. They’re two games behind the Portland Trail Blazers for fourth place and home court advantage in the playoffs. Portland plays the No. 2-seed Denver Nuggets twice in the next three days.

Every western conference team that has qualified for the playoffs will be in action on Friday.

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 (54-24)

Games Remaining: 4 (CLE, LAC, at NOP, at MEM)

Next Up: vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-60), Friday at 8:30 p.m.

The Warriors have basically locked up the top spot in the Western Conference, barring any epic meltdown. They have four games left, three of the four are against future lottery teams.

Golden State beat the Los Angeles Lakers on the road on Thursday night, 108-90. DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Cleveland has lost 7 straight games. Golden State beat the Cavaliers in their first meeting by 24 points, 129-105 on December 5.

2. Denver Nuggets (52-26)

Games Behind: 2

Games Remaining: 4 (POR, at POR, at UTAH, MIN)

Next Up: vs. Portland Trail Blazers (50-28), Friday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

The Nuggets could help the Jazz mightily by beating Portland twice this week. That could help Utah get home-court advantage. Denver has lost three of their last five though.

The first meeting this season was in Portland with Denver picking up a 113-112 win on November 30. January 13 was the other meeting, this time in Denver with the Nuggets winning the game, 116-113.

3. Houston Rockets (51-28)

Games Behind: 3.5

Games Remaining: 3 (NY, PHX, at OKC)

Next Up: vs. New York Knicks (15-63), Friday at 6 p.m.

The Rockets could snatch the two-seed from the Nuggets if Denver loses some games. Houston’s schedule sets up nicely to end the regular season.

Their first meeting against the Knicks was on January 23 at Madison Square Garden. Houston beat the Knicks 114-110 with James Harden scoring 61 points.

4. Portland Trail Blazers (50-28)

Games Behind: 4

Games Remaining: 4 (at DEN, DEN, at LAL, SAC)

Next Up: at Denver Nuggets (52-26), Friday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Two of the four games for the Trail Blazers are crucial. It could determine whether they get home-court advantage in the first round or not. They have won two straight and eight of their last nine.

The Nuggets lead the season series 2-0.

5. Utah Jazz (48-30)

Games Behind: 6

Games Remaining: 4 (SAC, at LAL, DEN, at LAC)

Next Up: vs. Sacramento Kings (39-40), Friday at 7 p.m. on AT&T SportsNet.

The Jazz currently have the longest winning streak in the NBA with six straight wins. They are still within reach of the four-seed in the west, if they can get some help with Portland playing the Nuggets twice.

Utah beat the Kings in the season opener on the road with a 123-117 victory. They lost the next game at home, 119-110 on November 21. Four days later, the Jazz beat the Kings on the road, 133-112.

6. LA Clippers (47-32)

Games Behind: 7.5

Games Remaining: 3 (LAL, at GSW, UTAH)

Next Up: vs. Los Angeles Lakers (35-44), Friday at 8:30 p.m.

In the last four games, the Clippers have won the games they were supposed to win and lost the games that most predicted them to lose. They are 2-2 in their last four after winning six straight and 11 of their last 12. Two of their final three games are against playoff teams.

They are 2-1 against the Lakers this season. Only loss was in overtime on January 31.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33)

Games Behind: 9

Games Remaining: 4 (DET, at MIN, HOU, at MIL)

Next Up: vs. Detroit Pistons (39-39), Friday at 6 p.m.

Tough schedule for the Thunder to end the season. A possible chance that the Bucks will rest all of their starters in the regular season finale, with Milwaukee locking up the No. 1-seed in the east. Oklahoma City has lost 7 of their last 10.

The Thunder beat the Pistons in Detroit on December 3 with a 110-83 victory.

8. San Antonio Spurs (45-34)

Games Behind: 9.5

Games Remaining: 3 (at WSH, at CLE, DAL)

Next Up: at Washington Wizards (32-47), Friday at 5 p.m.

The Spurs will not be able to catch the Jazz for the No. 5-seed in the west. They will likely be a No. 7 or No. 8-seed when the postseason begins.

San Antonio beat the Wizards in their first meeting on January 27 at home, 132-119.

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Every Team In West Has Critical Game On Friday