Both franchises are tied with a 48-20 record, and only the head-to-head won-lost percentage gives the defending champions the lead.
There are only 14 games left before the 2010-11 NBA regular season comes to end and the dispute for the No. 2 in the West between Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks promises to be the main attraction. With the San Antonio Spurs 6.5-games ahead of both, it is pretty clear that the No.1 seed in the conference will belong to the Spurs. This leaves the defending champions and the Mavs with no other option than competing for No. 2.
The schedule seems to be more favorable for the Lakers, as out of those 14 games left ten will be at their home field, the Staples Center, where they have a record of 23-8 so far. Meanwhile the Mavs will be on the road seven times before the season ends, with one of those visits against the defending champions on March 31st.
They have faced each other twice this year, in both occasions at the American Airlines Center. The first confrontation was won by Dallas by 109-100 on January 19. And in the second game on March 12th the victory went to Los Angeles by 96-91. Therefore their third and last game will be very important in matters of tiebreaker basis, since the head-to-head won-lost percentage could end up being decisive for them.
As of today both of them are tied with a 48-20 record each, with the tiebreaker favoring the Lakers. The last ten games have also been more favorable for defending champions, since their 9-1 mark has allowed them to snatch the second place from Dallas, squad that has lost four out of the last ten.
While these two franchises dispute the No. 2 in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder (44-23) will be working on securing their fourth place. With a five win streak the Thunder has proven to be on the right track towards their goal. They are three games ahead their closest contender, the Denver Nuggets, team that hasn’t accused Carmelo Anthony’s departure yet.
The Nuggets are fifth with a 41-27 record. Eight of those victories took place in the last ten games, where they have won the last four in a row, which has help them be one game ahead of No.6 New Orleans Hornets (40-30). Definitely that battle for the fifth place will be a tight one.
And so will the one for the last two playoff berths at stake, which at this time are property of No. 7 Portland Trail Blazers (38-29) and No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies (37-31), teams that could find in the Utah Jazz (36-33) and Houston Rockets (35-34) a menace towards their post-season goal.
The ones that don’t even stand a chance to reaching the playoffs and have suffered a premature elimination are the second before last Minnesota Timberwolves, along with last place Sacramento Kings. Both of them have suffered at least 50 defeats so far in the season.
Third from last L.A. Clippers are about to join them soon, for their 26-43 record isn’t of much help. As for the Phoenix Suns (33-33) and Golden State Warriors (30-38), No. 11 and No. 12 respectively, the future doesn’t look bright either, for they don’t depend solely on their results, and their performance this year doesn’t invite you to think in a miracle.