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Western Conference Race: Lakers & Mavericks in Action Tonight

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A look at how the Trail Blazers fit inside the current postseason picture.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have three crucial games left on their 2020-21 regular season schedule, but they could receive a significant boost if Tuesday’s slate of games breaks their way. The Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, who sit on either side of the Blazers in the Western Conference standings, are in action tonight.

Before we get into tonight’s schedule, here is a look at the current standings in the Western Conference.

  • No. 5 | Mavericks | Record: 40-28 | Games Remaining: 4
  • No. 6 | Trail Blazers | Record: 40-29 | Games Remaining: 3
  • No. 7* | Lakers | Record: 38-30 | Games Remaining: 4
  • No. 8* | Warriors | Record: 36-33 | Games Remaining: 3
  • No. 9* | Grizzlies | Record: 35-33 | Games Remaining: 4
  • No. 10* | Spurs | Record: 33-35 | Games Remaining: 4

*Play-in field

Tonight’s Games

The Mavericks and Grizzlies face off at 5:00 p.m. PT. The Mavs have won the previous two regular season matchups heading into tonight’s game. Memphis is riding a two-game winning streak and Dallas has strung together four consecutive victories.

The Lakers host the Knicks in a nationally televised game (TNT) at 7:00 p.m. PT. The Knicks claimed a 111-96 victory in their last contest against the Lakers. In their last 10 outings, the Lakers have recorded a 3-7 record. The Knicks, who are in a battle for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, have produced a 7-3 record in their previous 10 contests.

Play-In Refresher & Tiebreakers

Thanks to last week’s victory over the Lakers, the Blazers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over both the Mavs and Lakers. With only three games remaining, Portland cannot slip below Golden State in the standings.

Here is NBA.com’s rundown of how the play-in structure is set to unfold later this month:

At the conclusion of the regular season but before the first round of the playoffs, the team with the 7th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 8th-highest winning percentage in a Play-In Game (the “Seven-Eight Game”). The winner of the Seven-Eight Game in each conference will earn the No. 7 seed.

The team with the 9th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 10th-highest winning percentage in the “Nine-Ten Game”. The loser of the Seven-Eight Game will host the winner of the Nine-Ten Game in a Play-In Game, and the winner of that game in each conference will earn the No. 8 seed.

The Blazers return to action tomorrow with a matchup against the Jazz.