Following Thursday’s victory over the Nuggets, the Trial Blazers have created a slight cushion between themselves and the other teams vying for the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference. Along with increasing their chances of forcing a play-in series with the No. 8 seed, the Blazers are now in position to push the Grizzlies out of that spot all together. With those factors in mind, here is a look at the current standings in the Western Conference race.
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 | 32-37 | Win %: .464 | Bubble Record: 0-4
- Blazers | 32-38 | Win %: .457 | Bubble Record: 3-1
- Suns | 30-39 | Win%: .435 | Bubble Record: 4-0
- Spurs | 29-38 | Win %: .433 | Bubble Record: 2-2
- Kings | 29-39 | Win%: .426 | Bubble Record: 1-3
- Pelicans | 29-39 | Win%: .426 | Bubble Record: 1-3
Scenario if Playoffs Started Today: Grizzles (No. 8) face Blazers (No. 9) in a play-in series.
- Kings (W) defeat Pelicans (L) 140-125
- Suns (W) defeat Pacers (L) 114-99
- Blazers (W) defeat Nuggets (L) 125-115