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NBA Pacific: Clippers fight for home court, while Lakers fight for playoff berth

As the NBA regular season winds its way to an end, two teams in the Pacific division still have key games to play. The Los Angeles Clippers clinched the division title, but are fighting for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Los Angeles Lakers, sans-Kobe, are fighting for the last spot in the conference playoffs with the Utah Jazz.

The Clippers still have a number of playoff scenarios for their first round matchup even though only two games remain on the regular season schedule.

The Clippers are currently a half game behind Memphis in the playoff race. Since the Clippers won their division, they cannot finish any lower than fourth place in the playoff, but could lose home court advantage if the fifth place team has a better record.

The Clippers have a game in hand against Memphis and own the head-to-head tiebreaker, therefore if the teams finish tied, the Clippers will earn home court advantage.

Los Angeles also has an outside chance of finishing third in the conference. The Clippers trail third place Denver by a game and a half.

Denver has one game left on its schedule, while the Clippers have two. With a Denver loss and two wins by the Clippers, they could land in third place and play either the Houston Rockets or the Golden State Warriors. That scenario is the most unlikely of any since the Nuggets only have to beat the lowly Phoenix Suns at home in the Pepsi Center to secure the third seed.

Los Angeles has its two remaining games against Portland on Tuesday and Sacramento on Wednesday, while the Grizzlies must play the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night and the Jazz are fighting for the last seed in the conference playoff race and will do all they can to win.

The Los Angeles Lakers have to re-identify themselves after losing star Kobe Bryant to an Achilles tendon tear.

The Lakers have one game remaining in their regular season schedule and are currently one game in front of the Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot. A win by Los Angeles or a loss by the Jazz and the Lakers are playoff bound. However, if Los Angeles loses and the Jazz win the Jazz head to the playoffs as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Lakers.

The Lakers will have no push over on Wednesday as they face the Houston Rockets. Houston is currently fighting with Golden State for the sixth seed in the conference.

Two Pacific division teams – the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors – have qualified for the postseason, but their positions are still not finalized. One other Pacific division team, the Los Angeles Lakers, will not know until after their last regular season game on Wednesday, if they reached the playoffs.

All this excitement and the playoffs have yet to start.

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