Kobe Bryant To Play Against The Spurs, Clippers Now One Game Behind for 3rd Seed

"Where did I go wrong, I looost a friend Somewhere along in the bitterness And I would have stayed up with you all night Had I known how to save a liffffffffeeee" Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

For Playoff teams still jockeying for position, these last couple games are crucial in terms of matchups in the playoffs. As we saw last night, nearly every game involved a few scuffles (Here, Here, Here and Here). There are more altercation videos in the credits this morning than I remember doing in some time. If you're a playoff bound team, you want to Most importantly, the Clippers lost a close game against the surging Phoenix Suns, who are closer to getting into the playoffs. What does this mean for the Lakers?

West No.3 seed: The Lakers' move a full game ahead of the Clippers with the Clips' loss to the Suns Thurday. With the tiebreaker and three games remaining, the Lakers haven't locked up the deal, it's still a magic number of three, but they move closer and closer to firming up the three.

West No.4 and No.5 seed: The Clippers need every game to keep gunning for the 3rd seed and the loss in Phoenix was bad. Not only are they a full-game back of the Lakers and don't have the tiebreaker, but now Memphis is just a game and a half back with an easy schedule.

The Clippers are among several teams with very little room for error if they want to improve their seeding.

I don't know about you, but I would HATE to fall to the 4th seed and face Memphis. Playing the Mavericks in the first round would be my preferred choice, given we've swept the season series with them, and getting revenge for last year would be sweet. Their coaching staff is top notch, so it wouldn't be an easy out by any means, but I like our chances.

Tonight, the Lakers face the Spurs again. After being blown out by 21 points, the Lakers should be a lot hungrier than the last game. Most intriguing, is the return of Kobe Bryant. With his short stint as assistant coach, I wonder how he is going to change his game to fit back in, if at all. The Lakers, after all, have played very well without him. The Lakers need to go 2-1 in the next 3 to clinch the 3rd seed.

In other news, Dwight Howard is out for the season to have back surgery, Derek Fisher is being forced out as president of NBAPA for wanting more transparency, and Delonte West is going to have to cut back on cable.

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