Three of the six teams chasing the Western Conference’s final postseason spot notched victories on Friday. The Grizzlies snapped their four-game losing streak, the Spurs and Pelicans continued their pursuit of the Trial Blazers with wins and the Kings took a step back after loss to the new-look Nets. With those results in mind, here is where Portland sits prior to Saturday’s matchup with the Clippers.
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 | 33-37 | Win %: .471 | Bubble Record: 1-4
- Blazers | 32-38 | Win %: .457 | Bubble Record: 3-1
- Spurs | 30-38 | Win %: .441 | Bubble Record: 3-2
- Pelicans | 30-39 | Win%: .435 | Bubble Record: 2-3
- Suns | 30-39 | Win%: .435 | Bubble Record: 4-0
- Kings | 29-40 | Win%: .426 | Bubble Record: 1-4
Scenario if Playoffs Started Today: Grizzles (No. 8) face Blazers (No. 9) in a play-in series.
- Spurs (W) defeat Jazz (L) 119-111
- Grizzlies (W) defeat Thunder (L) 121-92
- Nets (W) defeat Kings (L) 119-106
- Pelicans (W) defeat Wizards (L) 118-107
- Clippers vs. Blazers | 10:00 am PT | TNT
- Suns vs. Heat | 4:30 pm PT | League Pass