The Portland Trail Blazers’ win on Tuesday not only gave them sole possession of the ninth seed in the race for the NBA Playoffs, but also brought them within 1.5 games of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. However, Portland has competition behind them as well; the Suns’ buzzer-beater win on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Clippers improved Phoenix’s record to 3-0 in Orlando. Let’s take a look at the current Western Conference playoff picture.
But first, here 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.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 is win percentage.
- Grizzlies | 32-36 | Win %: .471
- Blazers | 31-38 | Win %: .449
- Spurs | 29-37 | Win %: .439
- Pelicans | 29-38 | Win%: .433
- Suns | 29-39 | Win%: .426
- Kings | 28-39 | Win%: .418
Scenario if Playoffs Started Today: Grizzles (No. 8) face Blazers (No. 9) in a play-in series.
- Blazers (W) defeat Rockets (L) 110-102
- Suns (W) defeat Clippers (L) 117-115
- Mavericks (W) defeat Kings (L) 114-110
- Grizzlies vs. Jazz | 11:30 am PT | League Pass
- Nuggets vs. Spurs | 1:00 pm PT | League Pass