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Down the Stretch They Come!

March 20, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

Who has the most favorable schedule in the race for the last two Western Conference playoff spots?

The Clippers have 17 games left, including 10 road games. They open a seven-game, 12-day trip at Atlanta next Thursday. The Clippers' remaining opponents have a .493 winning percentage. Clipper Coach Bill Fitch said the Clippers have a tough schedule because the NBA didn't know whether the club was going to play at Anaheim or the Sports Arena when the schedule was drawn up.

"You don't have to be a genius to figure out that we got dealt from a different deck when it comes to the schedule after the all-star break," Fitch said. "We didn't know whether we were going to play here or in Anaheim, so they put us in Las Vegas. We got caught up in a mess.

"The [12-day trip] will be our playoffs whether we make it or not."

The Sacramento Kings have 15 games left, including seven road games. They open a five-game, 12-day trip at Seattle on Friday. The Kings' opponents have a .542 winning percentage.

The Phoenix Suns have 16 games left, including eight road games. However, their longest trip is a three-game, four-day trip against the Kings, Lakers and Golden State. The Suns' opponents have a .485 winning percentage.

"I think it's going to boil down to all of us winning some games at home and sneaking a few on the road," King Coach Garry St. Jean said.

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