UPDATE (April 7, 8:00 PM): By virtue of the Houston Rockets 124-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Memphis Grizzlies have also clinched a playoff spot. Updated tiebreakers, and remaining schedules, can be found below the table in this article.
Friday is a big night for the Western Conference playoff race: Memphis visits Dallas (at 5:30 on NBA TV), and the possibly-resting Los Angeles Clippers play the Jazz in Utah.
Bonus coverage: Hang out here Friday evening, as Blazer's Edge will have a bonus "viewing party" GDT, as we watch other teams decide each others' fates! The GDT will go live at 5:30 pm, in time for the Grizz/Mavs tip-off. -- Tim
For a Blazers team that was expected to win fewer than 30 games going into the season, clinching a playoff berth is nothing short of remarkable. Indeed, making the postseason after the team's much documented offseason roster upheaval is unprecedented in league history.
With the postseason spot clinched, attention now turns to the battle for playoff seeds in the Western Conference. The Rockets cannot catch the Blazers and the Jazz can, at best, finish in a tie with Portland. The Blazers beat the Jazz in all tiebreakers, including those involving four teams. Since the Blazers cannot be caught by two teams, they are guaranteed at least a seven-seed.
The Blazers, however, are still competing with the Grizzlies and Mavericks for the 5th-7th spots. Currently, the Blazers are in a virtual tie with Memphis and 2.5 games ahead of the Mavericks. Full standings and tiebreak scenarios follow:
Full playoff tie-breaking procedures can be found here. The most important statistic is head-to-head record. If the two teams finish tied, they will be positioned by the second tiebreaker - conference record.
Updated Tiebreak Scenarios (April 7, 8:00 PM):
Head-to-head ties: Dallas holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Blazers, so the Blazers need any combination of two Portland wins and Dallas losses to clinch at least the six-seed. The Blazers do hold the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies by virtue of their better conference record, but also have one more loss than the Grizzlies. Thus, the Blazers can pass the Grizzlies if Memphis loses one more remaining game than Portland.
Three-way ties: Three-way ties will be broken by winning percentage in games played among the three teams.
If Portland, Memphis and Dallas finish the season with identical records, Dallas wins the tiebreaker. Portland will finish second or third depending on the outcome of the April 8 Dallas vs. Memphis game.
If Portland, Memphis, and Utah finish tied, Portland will win the tiebreaker and the fifth seed.
Winner of the Portland, Dallas, Utah tie will be determined the Utah vs. Dallas game on April 8. Portland cannot finish last in that three-way tie.
Four-way tie: Four-way ties will be broken by winning percentage in games played among the four teams. If Dallas beats Memphis on April 8 and Utah beats Dallas on April 11, then the Blazers, Grizzlies, Jazz and Mavericks could finish in a four-way tie if all other games break right. In a four-way tie the Blazers would finish with the six-seed. Dallas would have the five-seed, Utah would be seven and Memphis would be eight.