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Suns can clinch top-2 seed with Clippers loss; odds are against them

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dribbles past Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

A loss by the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday will clinch the Phoenix Suns the Pacific Division and a top-2 seed in the Western Conference standings.

However, odds suggest the current No. 2 seed Suns will still have a chance to drop to No. 3 after the Clippers play the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

The Clippers are 10.5-point favorites to win in Houston, according to the majority of betting services.

Houston has the NBA’s worst record (16-54) and is currently on a seven-game skid. Going further back, the Rockets have lost 12 of their last 13 games.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, has won four of its last five games.

At 47-23, the Clippers enter Friday two full games behind the 49-21 Suns.

Phoenix beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday and sits a game behind the Western Conference-leading Utah Jazz with a back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs left this weekend.

Elsewhere in the NBA, there remain few certainties beyond which teams have clinched playoff berths.

No team in the top-6 of either conference has locked in its playoff seed, and only two teams out of eight total play-in squads are set in the seeding: the Eastern Conference’s No. 7 Boston Celtics and the Western Conference’s No. 10 San Antonio Spurs.

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