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Monday, April 23, 2012
Wild West: Nuggets tighten hold on 6th seed

By Jeff Caplan

We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.

Mavs' spot in the standings: Denver's second-half blowout of Orlando on Sunday moved it a half-game ahead of Dallas for the No. 6 seed. The Nuggets have two games remaining. The Mavs have one and they own the tiebreaker so nothing is settled. Elsewhere, the Spurs' win combined with the Thunder's loss at the Lakers on Sunday gives the Spurs a 1 1/2-game lead atop of the Western Conference while the Lakers moved a step closer to clinching the No. 3 seed.

SUNDAY'S GAMES
Lakers 114, Thunder 106 (2OT): Two critical questions remain from this one: How deep into the playoffs will the certain suspension coming to  Metta World Peace go for landing an elbow to the side of James Harden's head, and will the concussion Harden sustained keep him out of the start of the playoffs?

Nuggets 101, Magic 74: The game was tied 44-44 at halftime. Denver's second-half surge puts it in control of finishing ahead of Dallas in the No. 6 seed with two games to go.

Heat 97, Rockets 88: Houston led by as many as 13, but couldn't hold it and was eliminated from playoff contention.

Spurs 114, Cavaliers 98: Manu Ginobili scored 20 points off the bench as San Antonio won its seventh in a row and has the No. 1 seed within their grasp with three games to play.

Clippers 107, Hornets 98: L.A. rallies with a 33-14 fourth quarter to keep the No. 3 seed in play and tighten its grip on the No. 4 seed.

TODAY’S GAMES
Cavaliers at Grizzlies
Trail Blazers at Spurs

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Thunder