We have just under two weeks left in the regular season and so much still is up for grabs: the top seed in the East and West, the MVP award, Russell Westbrook's triple-double quest and more.
The Warriors look like champs. The Cavs look like chumps. Westbrook looks like an undeniable force of nature.
We can't wait for the playoffs to get here, but first there's still stuff to settle. Here are five games you won't want to miss — starting with two Friday night!
Thomas SheaThomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Spurs at Thunder, Friday, March 31
Westbrook's MVP case got a boost Wednesday night with his 57-point triple-double, while Kawhi Leonard's took a hit with the Warriors' comeback win over the Spurs. Westbrook is chasing not only the MVP but also some triple-double history, which would go a long way toward helping him win the award.
Leonard still has a shot, and locking up Westbrook in a win would help him bounce back — especially if the Spurs pull closer to the Warriors for the No. 1 spot. That is, if Pop decides to play Kawhi in Friday's nationally televised game. Let's hope Adam Silver's warning about resting healthy stars was heeded. Don't rob us of this marquee matchup.
Rockets at Warriors, Friday, March 31
If the Spurs' Wednesday loss to the Warriors convinced you, then the second half of Friday night's nationally televised doubleheader is a matchup of the top teams in the West. However, the Warriors' win over the Rockets on Tuesday — their second in three games — also might've convinced you that the Dubs have no true challenger in the West.
No Kevin Durant — if we knew when he was returning, that game would be on this list — but the Warriors have been playing even better without him and are closing in on the top seed. Meanwhile, James Harden is trying to lock up the MVP but got outplayed by Steph Curry at home this week. Harden needs a big night, especially following Russell Westbrook's tough act.
Thunder at Grizzlies, Wednesday, April 5
We don't often get excited for games in the Grindhouse, but if Westbrook continues to get a triple-double every night — and at this rate, who's betting against him? — then he'll be poised to pass Oscar Robertson for the most in a season by picking up No. 42. He's also trying to become only the second player to average a triple-double for a season — Robertson did it in 1961-62 — and if he gets No. 42 at Memphis, he should have it all but locked up.
All that looks pretty good on that MVP résumé.
Cavaliers at Celtics, Wednesday, April 5
Everyone had the Cavs and Warriors penciled in as the top seeds in their conferences en route to a third straight Finals matchup. But somewhere along the route, Cleveland has lost its way defensively and slipped out of the top spot in the East. And that's allowed Boston to claw its way to the top.
These two teams still could be battling for the No. 1 seed when they meet in Boston. The last time they played there on March 1, the Celts eeked out a 103-99 win, overcoming a LeBron triple-double with the help of Avery Bradley's big stop on Kyrie Irving. Plus, Isaiah Thomas is the second-best MVP candidate in the East. This should be a preview of the conference finals.
Ken BlazeKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
76ers at Knicks, Wednesday, April 12
The only reason this makes the cut is because it could be Carmelo Anthony's last game as a Knick. Melo told reporters this week "I don’t even know my role" on the Knicks anymore, and after all of Phil Jackson's trolling amid another awful season in New York, this could spell the end of this rocky marriage.
Forget the triangle. Will we see vintage Melo, with him putting up 40 or 50 in a farewell to fans at the Garden? That's what we'll be tuning in to see.