MMPG: The FourCast
1. San Antonio at Oklahoma City (Tuesday)
Of note: Oklahoma City, playoff spoiler? The Thunder is praying for Blake Griffin and really has nothing to play for, but it has been a thorn in San Antonio's side. After upsetting the Spurs on March 16, the Thunder beat them again last week in San Antonio. Those two losses have been damaging, with the Spurs two games behind Denver for second in the Western Conference; they have a half-game lead over the Houston Rockets for first in the Southwest Division.
2. Denver at Los Angeles Lakers (Thursday)
Of note: The Los Angeles Lakers have dominated the Western Conference without any legitimate challenger for much of the season. Denver is back in second in the conference after an early slump in March, and the Nuggets finally snapped a nine-game losing streak -- including a playoff sweep last postseason -- to the Lakers on Feb. 27, when they won 90-79 at Pepsi Center.
3. New Orleans at Dallas (Friday)
Of note: Chris Paul almost single-handedly dismantled the Dallas Mavericks in five games last postseason, and he has kept his demolition going this regular season. In two games against Dallas, Paul is averaging 30 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. The Hornets won both games by an average of 17.5 points. The teams will meet again on Sunday. Dallas trails New Orleans by 1½ games in the West.
4. Boston at Cleveland (Sunday)
Of note: By the time these teams meet, the Cleveland Cavaliers will probably have the top seed in the Eastern Conference locked, but this game is still important should the teams meet in the conference finals. The Celtics are 2-1 against Cleveland this season, winning both games at home. They won the last meeting in Boston, 105-94, without Kevin Garnett. Boston will have to do it again, with Garnett out with a knee injury until the playoffs. But Cleveland is 36-1 at home this season.
Others in consideration: New Orleans at Miami (Tuesday); Orlando at Houston (Tuesday); Washington at Cleveland (Tuesday); Portland at San Antonio (Wednesday); Utah at Dallas (Wednesday); Philadelphia at Chicago (Thursday); Cleveland at Philadelphia (Friday); Miami at Boston (Friday); Utah at San Antonio (Friday); Los Angeles Lakers at Portland (Friday); Dallas at New Orleans (Sunday)
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