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Playoff race: Breaking down and predicting the remaining Jazz and Lakers games

Published: Monday, April 8 2013 1:47 p.m. MDT

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Oklahoma City at Utah

While the Thunder are elite, their record (currently 56-21) isn't elite enough to allow them to rest like Miami in the East. OKC is well within striking distance of first place in the West, currently one game behind the Spurs.

The Jazz have won just one of their three previous meetings against OKC, though that one — like Tuesday's game — was at EnergySolutions Arena. Furthermore, the Thunder have suffered 15 of their 20 defeats on the road, compared to 22 wins away from home.

That Jazz win, however, also featured flagrant fouls from Kendrick Perkins (not surprising) and Kevin Durant (shocking — it was his first ever). The Jazz will need to similarly frustrate them, or at least dominate them inside, for a similar result.

Probable outcome: Oklahoma City wins

New Orleans at Los Angeles

The Hornets have lost all three previous meetings against the Lakers this season, and there's little reason to believe the fourth time around will be a charm. Shooting forward Ryan Anderson (16.4 ppg, 38.8 percent from 3-point range) may cause the Lakers some trouble, but it's doubtful New Orleans will pull off the shocker in L.A.

Probable outcome: Los Angeles wins

Probable standings result: Los Angeles jumps ahead of Utah by a half game.
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Striker
Omaha, NE

ESPN said Utah only needs to wins, and LA needs 4. The road looks much better for Utah.

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