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A look at the NBA playoff picture P.J. Hall Color Rush Jersey , with three days remaining in the regular season:



EAST UPDATE

Philadelphia will open the playoffs at home for the first time since 2003, after clinching no worse than the No. 4 seed with its win over Dallas . The 76ers – now winners of 14 consecutive games – will finish No. 3 in the East if they close with wins over Atlanta and Milwaukee.

Indiana remained in the mix for a top-four seed as well with its win over Charlotte.

To reach No. 4, the Pacers will need to win their finale against Charlotte, and need Cleveland to lose both of its remaining games against New York. Otherwise, Indiana will be the No. 5 seed.

No. 1 seed Toronto beat Orlando in a game where the Raptors departed with some injury concerns – Lucas Nogueira strained a hamstring, and Fred Van Vleet left with what the team said was relatively minor back tightness. But the Raptors remained ahead of Golden State in the race for the NBA’s second-best record (and potentially home-court in the NBA Finals if Houston falls).



WEST UPDATE

Utah clinched its playoff spot with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers , and will finish with the No. 3 seed if it wins its final two games.

That means now it’s down to five teams – Oklahoma City, San Antonio, New Orleans Josh Allen Bills Jersey , Minnesota and Denver – vying for the final four Western Conference spots.

And the only seeds that are locked up remain at the top, No. 1 Houston and No. 2 Golden State.

The Jazz haven’t played a Game 1 of any series at home since the West semifinals in 2007, and haven’t played Game 1 of the first round at home since 2001. And after losing Gordon Hayward last summer, plus starting this year 19-28, this postseason berth represents nothing but an amazing job by Jazz coach Quin Snyder.

Plenty of clarity in the West race should come on Monday. Oklahoma City, San Antonio and New Orleans can all clinch spots with victories, and Minnesota can also secure its first postseason spot since 2004 with a win and some help.



MONDAY’S GAMES

– Toronto at Detroit: The Raptors held DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas out Sunday, and more resting of regulars is likely.

– Oklahoma City at Miami: There will be playoff intensity. Thunder trying to clinch their spot with a win, Heat trying to hold No. 6.

– Cleveland at New York: Cavaliers finish No. 3 with two wins over New York and a 76ers loss; LeBron James is 19-8 all-time at MSG.

– Orlando at Milwaukee: Bucks may get to No. 6 in the East with a win and some help. Wednesday in Philly will be big for both teams.

– Memphis at Minnesota: Timberwolves can clinch a postseason berth with a win http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/...h-allen-jersey , a San Antonio win and a Portland win over Denver.

– Sacramento at San Antonio: Spurs clinch their 21st consecutive playoff spot with a victory, or a Memphis win, or a Portland win.

– Portland at Denver: Nuggets need at least one win in their final two games to have a chance, and the home finale might loom vital.

– New Orleans at L.A. Clippers: Doc Rivers says the eliminated Clippers will play it straight, knowing Pelicans clinch spot with a win.

– Chicago at Brooklyn: No playoff implications.



CURRENT BRACKET

First-round matchups if the season ended Sunday …

East: 1-Toronto vs. 8-Washington, 2-Boston vs. 7-Milwaukee, 3-Philadelphia vs. 6-Miami, 4-Cleveland vs. 5-Indiana.

West: 1-Houston vs. 8-Minnesota, 2-Golden State vs. 7-Oklahoma City Michael Gallup Color Rush Jersey , 3-Portland vs. 6-San Antonio, 4-Utah vs. 5-New Orleans.



NOTE OF THE DAY

Philadelphia has won 14 consecutive games. From March 27, 2015, through Dec. 6, 2016, the 76ers won 14 times in a span of 114 games.



QUOTE OF THE DAY

”Bench play is going to be huge for us going into the playoffs without a full roster.” – Boston coach Brad Stevens, on why he left four starters on the bench for the fourth quarter in the Celtics’ loss to Atlanta.

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling is scheduled to make his second major league appearance against the Los Angeles Angels when they meet in the middle game of their three-game interleague series at Angel Stadium on Saturday evening.

He last faced the Angels just over two years ago in his first season with the Dodgers. That game likely stands out to Stripling because it’s the only time he hit a batter in 257 2/3 innings in the majors.

That miscue forced in a run and ended the night after 4 2/3 innings for Stripling, who had walked two other batters in the inning. The bullpen then gave up the lead with the inherited runners and Stripling took the loss in the 7-4 defeat at Angel Stadium.

Stripling (6-2, 2.27 ERA) has not only avoided hitting another batter since then Brandon Parker Color Rush Jersey , but has mastered his overall control, entering Saturday with 96 strikeouts and just 13 walks this season. His ERA is seventh best in the majors among pitchers with at least 12 starts.

Not bad for a pitcher whose first 10 appearances this season came out of the bullpen, where he’s 0-0 with a 0.59 ERA this season.

Stripling will try to get the Dodgers (47-40) back atop the NL West after Kenley Jansen blew a save in the series opener on Friday night and the Angels won 3-2. The Dodgers had taken over first place for the first time this season while idle on Thursday, but the Arizona Diamondbacks moved back into first with the Dodgers’ loss to the Angels (45-44).

Angels rookie David Fletcher continues to cement himself as a major leaguer. He drove in the tying run with a two-out pinch-hit single off Jansen, then scored the winning run from first on a check-swing single by Ian Kinsler, followed by a throwing error by Dodgers right-fielder Yasiel Puig.

“If I can help the team win, it’s a big deal,” Fletcher told FOX Sports West after the win.

Stripling knows he needs to be sharper on Saturday than he was in his last outing, when he allowed four runs and a season-high nine hits in six innings of a 6-4 victory against the visiting Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

Stripling told the Southern California News Group following the game that he didn’t believe he was getting fatigued. Stripling has thrown 83 1/3 innings this season Johnny Townsend Color Rush Jersey , more than the 77 1/3 he logged last season, but less than the 104 1/3 he accumulated during the 2016 season.

“They’ve seen me throw 80 innings now this year,” he said. “I think they’ve got an idea what’s coming. I’ve just got to stay sharp.”

Angels center fielder Mike Trout faced Stripling twice on May 17, 2016, and had a solo homer and a two-run single.

Deck McGuire (0-1, 7.56) is scheduled to make his fourth appearance with the Angels after he was acquired from the Texas Rangers for cash considerations on June 19. Texas had claimed the 28-year-old McGuire from the Toronto Blue Jays a few days earlier.

He made two relief appearances for the Angels before making his first start on Sunday and allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings of an 8-2 loss against the Baltimore Orioles.

McGuire was sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake following that game, but was recalled on Wednesday, the day Tyler Skaggs was scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday against the Seattle Mariners because of a strained abductor.

McGuire has never faced the Dodgers in his career.
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