Last night's Jazz loss, and wins by their three closest competitors knocked the Jazz a half game behind three teams, and down to the #24 pick. Five other teams are within 2.5 games behind the Jazz, so a few more Utah losses could really help improve the pick. On Friday, Utah travels to NOH for its third game in four days. Since many of these Western Conference competitors play each other over the last four games (and somebody has to lose), Jazz losses will be critical.
30. CLE 61-17
29. LAL 55-22
28. ORL 55-23 (W)
Half Game Ahead
25-27. DAL 51-27 (W) ... @POR, @SAC, @LAC, SA
25-27. DEN 51-27 (W) ... LAL, SA, MEM, @PHO
25-27. PHO 51-27 (W) .. @OKC, HOU, DEN, @UTA
24. UTA 51-28 (L) ... @NOH, @GSW, PHO
1.5 Games Behind
22-23. BOS 49-29 (W) ... WAS, @MIL, @CHI, MIL
22-23. ATL 49-29 (L) ... TOR, @WAS, @MIL, CLE
2.5 Games Behind
19-21. POR 48-30 (W) ... DAL, @LAL, OKC, GSW
19-21. SAS 48-30 (L) ... MEM, @DEN, MIN, @DAL
19-21. OKC 48-30 (L) ... PHO, @GSW, @POR, MEM
Of course, if teams end the season with the same record, a coin flip determines their draft order.
Charlotte clinched a play-off berth tonight. They currently have the 7th seed in the East (#16 pick), and both CHI or TOR could catch them, but since they play each other, one team will come up short. Its highly unlikely either will catch them though, as CHA would need to lose it's four remaining games, and CHI or TOR would have to win-out.
What we should keep a closer eye on is whether the pick will decrease from #16. Both MIL and MIA won tonight and hold a two-game lead with four remaining, as well as the tie-breaker over CHA, but I'll feel more comfortable when I see MIL win another game or two without Bogut.
Picks: Eastern Conference:
#18 MIA (44-34) (W) ... vs DET, @NYK, @PHI, vs NJN
#17 MIL (44-34) (W) ... @PHI, vs BOS, vs ATL, @ BOS
#16 CHA (42-36) (W) ... @HOU, vs DET, @NJN, vs CHI
#15 TOR (38-40) (L) ... @ ATL, vs CHI, @DET, vs NYK
#12 CHI (37-40) ... vs CLE, @NJN, @ TOR, vs BOS, @ CHA
It strongly looks like the CHA pick will be #16.