Saturday’s less-than-ideal results were obvious: the Trail Blazers dropped a game that the Clippers appeared ready to gift them and the Suns extended their restart winning streak to five games. Here is a look at the race for the Western Conference’s final postseason spot following yesterday’s results.
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 | 32-39 | Win %: .451 | Bubble Record: 3-2
- Suns | 31-39 | Win%: .443 | Bubble Record: 5-0
- Spurs | 30-38 | Win %: .441 | Bubble Record: 3-2
- Pelicans | 30-39 | Win%: .435 | Bubble Record: 2-3
- 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.
- Clippers (W) defeat Blazers (L) 122-117
- Suns (W) defeat Heat (L) 119-112