With the addition of play-in games to the 2021 NBA playoffs, the scramble for seeding is wilder — and extra essential — than ever, with virtually every game down the stretch having vital postseason implications.
Play-in matchups following Thursday’s video games
Play-in video games to be held Could 18-21
Recreation 1: No. Eight Charlotte at No. 7 Boston — winner is No. 7 seed in playoffs
Recreation 2: No. 10 Washington at No. 9 Indiana — winner strikes on in play-in; loser is eradicated
Recreation 3: Washington/Indiana winner at Boston/Charlotte loser — winner is No. Eight seed in playoffs
Recreation 1: No. Eight Golden State at No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers — winner is No. 7 seed in playoffs
Recreation 2: No. 10 San Antonio at No. 9 Memphis — winner strikes on in play-in; loser is eradicated
Recreation 3: Memphis/San Antonio winner at Lakers/Golden State loser — winner is No. Eight seed in playoffs
Groups that clinched Thursday
This is a breakdown of the important thing video games from Thursday and what the outcomes imply for the seedings:
Devin Booker is fouled on the shot with 2.four seconds remaining in regulation and hits each free throws for the Suns’ win.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been 4 seconds away from formally locking in a spot within the prime six, however two free throws by Devin Booker gave the Phoenix Suns a one-point win and stored Portland from celebrating a playoff spot for not less than one other day.
The Blazers shut their season on Sunday towards the Nuggets, but when the Los Angeles Lakers lose on Saturday to the Indiana Pacers, it will assure Portland no worse than sixth. But when the Blazers lose their finale, and the Lakers win their final two video games, it will drop Portland into the play-in spot and enhance the Lakers to sixth.
The Blazers had been on a roll to get to this spot, profitable their previous 5 and 9 of their previous 10.
The loss does complicate the Blazers’ push for the 5-seed, although. They fall a recreation behind the Dallas Mavericks, and whereas they’ve the tiebreaker with Dallas in hand, they want a Mavs loss to both the Raptors or Timberwolves in one in all their final two video games. — Royce Younger
Trae Younger shakes his defender, crosses over and pulls up for the high-percentage bucket.
The Hawks took a giant step towards securing that fourth seed with an emphatic win over the hapless Orlando Magic. The win leaves Atlanta with one ultimate recreation on Sunday towards the league-worst Houston Rockets. If Atlanta wins that recreation, and the Knicks and Warmth win out, the Hawks will win the Southeast Division and clinch the fourth seed.
The Miami Warmth, in the meantime, blew out the Philadelphia 76ers, retaining the Warmth in line to complete fifth. Miami owns the tiebreaker over the Knicks, so if all three groups stay tied till the tip of the common season, Miami would get the fifth seed. The Warmth have two video games left — at Milwaukee on Saturday and at Detroit on Sunday.
New York picked up a victory, as effectively, although it was a much more troublesome one to get, because the Knicks outlasted the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Sq. Backyard.
If two of the trio of Atlanta, New York and Miami are tied on the finish of the season, right here is how the tiebreaker eventualities escape:
Atlanta wins the tiebreaker with Miami
Miami wins the tiebreaker with New York
New York wins the tiebreaker with Atlanta
Losses by Charlotte and Indiana Thursday evening additionally formally lock the Celtics into the seventh seed within the East, and they’re going to host the 7-Eight recreation within the NBA’s inaugural play-in event subsequent Tuesday. Charlotte and Indiana are tied with 33 wins, whereas the Washington Wizards have 32. — Tim Bontemps
Coby White will get out in transition and throws down a monster jam on Stanley Johnson.
With the Chicago Bulls beating the Toronto Raptors Thursday evening, Chicago nonetheless has very slim hopes of constructing the play-in event. It might nonetheless require loads — the Wizards shedding their ultimate two video games and the Bulls profitable their ultimate two — however that is higher than having no likelihood in any respect. — Bontemps
In contrast to the Bulls, the Sacramento Kings do not have an opportunity in any respect after shedding to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday evening. The Kings wanted to win out and have the Spurs lose out, however Thursday’s loss will formally prolong Sacramento’s league-leading playoff drought to 15 years. The Spurs, in the meantime, backed into the No. 10 slot within the West.
Memphis stored itself within the operating for the possibility to complete with the eighth seed within the Western Convention with the win. Sunday’s recreation towards the Golden State Warriors might be, basically, a one-game playoff for the eighth playoff spot within the West, which suggests the distinction between having to win one in all two video games to make the playoffs, or having to win two in a row. — Bontemps
The Clippers run the pick-and-roll, with Rajon Rondo discovering Kawhi Leonard with a slick cross for a layin plus the foul.
Nic Batum loved his return to Charlotte.
With assist from Batum, the Clippers performed higher than they’ve of late and proceed to carry on to the third seed forward of Denver with two video games remaining at Houston and Oklahoma Metropolis.
For the Hornets, this was a recreation they wanted. They continue to be tied with the Indiana Pacers. Charlotte, which owns the tiebreaker for the No. Eight seed over Indiana, has misplaced three straight and may use Miles Bridges again for the ultimate two video games of the season towards the Knicks and Wizards. — Ohm Youngmisuk