The Trail Blazers suffered their first loss of the NBA’s restart schedule on Sunday, an outcome that moved them just behind the Spurs in the race for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Following Sunday’s loaded slate of games, here is an updated look at the postseason picture.
First, these are the basics for this year’s playoffs race in regards to the teams poised to finish at No. 8 and No. 9 in the standings (via NBA dot com).
If the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, no play-in tournament will be necessary. The final playoff berth will simply go to the team with the eighth best record (regular-season games + seeding games).
But if the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, then we’ll have a battle for the final spot between those two teams.
The tournament will basically be a best-of-two series — where the No. 9 seed will have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot.
It is also worth noting that the tie breaker for teams on the fringe with identical records is win percentage.
- Grizzlies | 32-35 | Win %: .478
- Spurs | 29-36 | Win%: .446
- Blazers | 30-38 | Win%: .441
- Pelicans | 28-38 | Win%: .424
- Kings | 28-38 | Win%: .424
- Suns | 28-39 | Win%: .418
Scenario if Playoffs Started Today: Grizzles (No. 8) face Spurs (No. 9) in a play-in series.
- Celtics (W) defeat Blazers (L) 128-124
- Spurs (W) defeat Grizzlies (L) 108-106
- Magic (W) defeat Kings (L) 132-116
- Suns (W) defeat Mavericks (L) 117-115
- Grizzles face the Pelicans | 3:30 pm PT | ESPN
- Spurs face the Sixers | 5:00 pm PT | League Pass