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Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wild West: Mavs-Thunder series nearly set?

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: The Mavericks are closing in on a first-round series with the No. 2-seed Oklahoma City Thunder in what would be a rematch of last year's Western Conference finals. A Dallas loss at Atlanta on Thursday or a Denver win at Minnesota (or if both lose), then the series is set. If the Mavs win and the Nuggets lose, Dallas will finish with the sixth seed and take on the Lakers.

Nuggets 106, Thunder 101: Denver takes the upper hand for the No. 6 seed and a first-round date with the Lakers, while the Thunder are thrilled that James Harden, the leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate, was medically cleared Wednesday for the start of the playoffs after sustaining a concussion Sunday.

Knicks 99, Clippers 93: Chris Paul sat out with a mild groin strain and now the Clippers need the Grizzlies to lose at home today to the Magic to secure home-court advantage in their first-round series with Memphis.

Mavs at Hawks
Nuggets at Timberwolves
Magic at Grizzlies

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Thunder