Jason Terry’s game-winning shot against Minnesota last night — specifically, Sebastian Telfair, who got absolutely faked out of his sneakers — not only won the game, but it also moved the Dallas Mavericks out of the dreaded eighth playoff spot. The Utah Jazz now face the prospect of playing Kobe and the gang when the playoffs start on Saturday. Oddly enough, Utah plays their last game of the season tonight against said Lakers in Los Angeles. If they want to entertain chances of not seeing them in the first round, the Jazz have to win tonight and hope Dallas loses to Houston on Wednesday.
These factors make Terry’s shot that much bigger. The Mavericks match up well with all of the teams fighting for the second seed; currently occupied by Denver. If they maintain their seventh seeding, provided New Orleans doesn’t lose their last game while Dallas wins, the Mavericks would be in a good position for a run to the Conference Finals.
Of course, the same logic is true for any Western Conference team in the second-seed side of the bracket.
In light of the all this Western Conference leap-frogging going on, it’s hard not to look at the Eastern Conference and all laugh. If Dallas, New Orleans or Utah played in the East, they’d be high seeds going into the playoffs, while teams like Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia would miss the playoffs entirely — unless they were allowed to defect to the Western Conference as reciprocation for losing the Jazz, Mavericks and Hornets.
If that happened, Chicago and Philly would push Golden State and Minnesota aside and Shaq would be Twittering about “carrying” Phoenix to the NBA Playoffs. With that in mind, perhaps this type of nonsensical realignment is best for all parties involved.