Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Playoff implications of Thursday night

The bottom of the Western Conference playoff bracket won’t be settled tomorrow night, but however the evening unfolds will go a long way to deciding the last two spots. The seventh-place Mavs (49-29) host Utah, while Denver (47-31) visits Golden State (47-31).

The magic number for the Mavs is currently two (any combination of wins and Golden State losses) with four games left. Here are the playoff and magic number scenarios for the Mavs:

• Clinch playoff spot with win and Denver beating Golden State.
• Magic number one with win and Golden State beating Denver.
• Magic number one with loss and Denver beating Golden State.
• Magic number two with loss and Golden State beating Denver.

Should the Mavs get in, the first-round foe would likely be the No. 1 or 2 seed. Who would that be? New Orleans? San Antonio? LA Lakers? Utah? Phoenix? Who knows? Regardless of what happens, the Mavs aren’t worried about jockeying for position to match up with a certain team.

“Not this year,” Avery Johnson said. “I tell you, a couple of years ago we were hoping we played a certain team in the first round, but now I think it’s going to be this way probably for the next five years until some teams just fall off the map a little bit.

“I think of the matchups in the first round, you don’t really want to play anybody. I don’t know who really wants to play us.”

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