2018 NBA G League Western Conference Playoff Race Simmering
With four weeks left in the regular season, the race for playoff spots is extremely tight in the NBA G League. Here’s a look at how things set up in the Western Conference for the upcoming week among the top nine contenders.
South Bay Lakers* (25-15):
One of two teams that are currently assured of at least a .500 season. All season they have been a consistent winner and lead the Pacific division by 3 games. Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Purple and Gold have won 2 of 3 with the one loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Saturday. Three more games arrive this week as part of a six-game home stand over the span of two weeks. Wednesday vs. Memphis, Friday vs. Reno, Saturday vs. Oklahoma City Blue.
Austin Spurs* (25-16):
Here’s the other team that will finish with at least as many wins as losses. The only thing separating the Spurs from the Lakers at the top of the conference is one extra loss to an Eastern Conference foe. They split their two road games last week and hold a one game edge for the division lead. Up next for Austin is two home games in the latter half of the week against two playoff contenders. It’s a battle with division rival Rio Grande Valley on Friday and Central Division leader Fort Wayne on Sunday.
Rio Grande Valley (24-17):
Winners of their last four games and coming off a Friday night win at Iowa, the Vipers can lie in wait until their game Friday at Austin. That may not be such a bad thing as RGV has been an excellent road team this season and equal wins and losses at home.
Texas Legends (23-18):
Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Legends have dropped two of three at home over the span of four days. An impressive win over Austin on Wednesday gave way to a buzz saw in Northern Arizona on Friday. One night later, Salt Lake City came to town and wore down the Legends in a four-point loss. A one week pause could be the right tonic before a swing to South Dakota on Saturday in Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls Skyforce* (21-17):
Winners of five straight, the ‘Force just bagged a big road win at South Bay in their lone contest since the break. Four more games are on the docket this week to complete a meat grinder of five games in eight days. Starting with a Monday night battle in Ontario with the Agua Caliente Clippers and a stop in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, it’s back to back nights Friday and Saturday with Greensboro and Texas respectively.
Reno Bighorns (21-17):
With six teams making the conference playoffs, here’s the team that “if the playoffs were to begin today” would be seed number six out west. They trail the Lakers by three games for the division lead and hold the final wildcard spot by a game and a half. Last week the Bighorns split with a couple spoilers by downing Salt Lake City at home and were nipped at Memphis. It could be a make or break week with two against Northern Arizona and one with the Lakers all on the road.
Northern Arizona Suns (20-19):
This team has caught fire at the right time as winners of four straight and hold some destiny in their hands with two games coming up at home against Reno (Tuesday & Sunday) who is just above them in playoff contention. Mix that with a quick road trip to Santa Cruz on Wednesday then back home for Memphis on Friday.
Oklahoma City Blue (20-20):
Out of the break, the Blue dropped all three of their matchups including two to Eastern Conference teams that are playing out the string and four overall. They were all tightly bunched with the first one at Canton with a travel day to get back home to meet Austin then Delaware. A chance to cut the deficit arrives on Wednesday with a home matinee against Sioux Falls before two games out west with Santa Cruz and South Bay.
Santa Cruz Warriors (19-19):
Two games out of a playoff spot with twelve to play is a reasonable challenge for the Sea Dubs. A pretty convincing loss to the Lakers on Sunday can be erased pretty quickly during their upcoming quartet of games. Tuesday at the Clippers, is followed by three at home starting Wednesday vs. the Suns, then Friday with Oklahoma City capped by a Sunday deal with Memphis.
Here is an Eastern Conference brief recap:
1. Westchester Knicks* (27-14)
2. Fort Wayne Mad Ants* (24-15)
3. Raptors 905 (25-16)
4. Long Island Nets (22-17)
5. Grand Rapids Drive (22-18)
6. Erie BayHawks* (21-19)
*Denotes current division leader.