Breaking down the race for the NBA play-in tournament out west

The NBA is set for a play-in tournament out west

The first play-in tournament game will be played Saturday, August 15 at 2:30pm ET. If the 9th seed gets the victory, a second play-in game will take place on Sunday, August 16 at 4:30pm ET.

What does a path to the playoffs look like for the four teams in the race for the 8th or 9th spots? Let’s take a look.

Stay up-to-date with our latest NBA Bubble Standings


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To secure the 8th seed:

WIN vs. Brooklyn Nets


Lose vs. Brooklyn Nets + Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs all lose their final game

To secure the 9th seed:

Lose vs. Brooklyn Nets + two of the following teams lose a game (Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs)


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To secure the 8th seed:

WIN vs. Utah Jazz + Portland Trail Blazers/Memphis Grizzlies/Phoenix Suns all lose their final game

To secure the 9th seed:

WIN vs. Utah Jazz + 2 of the following teams lose their final game (Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns)


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To secure the 8th seed:

WIN vs. Dallas Mavericks + Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies lose their final game

To secure the 9th seed:

WIN vs. Dallas Mavericks + one of the following teams loses their final game (Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies)


Memphis Grizzlies: Brutal remaining schedule looming large

To secure the 8th seed:

WIN vs. Milwaukee Bucks + Portland Trail Blazers lose their final game

To secure the 9th seed:

WIN vs. Milwaukee Bucks + Portland Trail Blazers win their final game


Lose vs. Milwaukee Bucks + the following teams lose their final game (Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs)

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NBA teams as Disney rides and attractions

The NBA is going to Disney Wooooorld!

So, I decided to describe NBA teams as Disney World rides/attractions, here’s what I’ve got so far:

New York Knicks – Tower of Terror

Yeah, I know the Knicks are not playing in Orlando. I also know that being a Knicks fan is basically like living in the Twilight Zone – frozen in time, abandoned, and constantly seeing the darkest corners of your imagination come to life.

Oklahoma Thunder – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Who said trading away Russell Westbrook would leave the Thunder stuck in a rebuild? This team is still a gold mine and can become a real big obstacle on the rickety track to NBA Finals. The Clutch Conductor (CP3) and the Locomotive driver (SGA) have led OKC to 16 games over .500 with a chance to get to the 4th seed in the WC.

Milwaukee Bucks – Soarin’

The Bucks are soarin’ high, sitting comfortably at 6.5 games ahead of the Raptors at the top of the Eastern Conference thanks to world wonder and potential back-to-back MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo

LA Lakers – Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster

This was one was easy. Hollywood. Iconic, Legendary players in LeBron & AD. LA traffic. A chance to see J.R. Smith topless stumblin’ around chugging Hennessy at a championship parade.

Toronto Raptors – DINOSAUR

Well, what else did you expect here? Will Toronto be able to travel back in time, kidnap Kawhi Leonard and bring him back to the present as a Raptor for their repeat bid? No. Their top 7 players may have been in/out of the rotation with injuries, but they are healthy now and ready to defend their title against anything – 21 NBA teams, fiery meteors, COVID-19.

Got any suggestions for NBA teams as Disney rides and attractions?

Leave us a comment or email for a chance to be featured on the Shoot or Pass podcast!

Shoot or Pass Podcast – Episode 23: 2019 NBA Playoffs First-Round Preview

Chevy and Gabe are back to breathe life into the 2019 NBA Playoffs First-Round preview. These two gents discuss each of the match-ups and predictions! Tune in now to listen to their picks.

2018 NBA Finals Staff Predictions

Shoot or Pass Podcast – Episode 14: 2018 NBA Finals Preview

Chevy, DeMario, and Markus review the 2018 NBA Conference Finals and then head into the NBA Finals preview. The team talks about how bad the Rockets luck turned out, the LeBron legacy in question, and give their thoughts on the Kyrie missing Game 7. Tune into this episode to hear their opinions on the 2018 NBA Finals and series prediction!

Also, please support our Contributor Nate Ledsinger! The Cedar Rapids Diplomats (14U) have been selected to play in the Jr. NBA World Championships, Central Region, ‪June 8th – 10th.‬ The team is Coached by Nate & Brandon Jackson. They are currently asking for $3500 to help players and families with their expenses. Travel, gas, hotel, and food are estimated in this amount. CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THEIR GOFUNDME!

2018 NBA Finals Schedule

Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Game 1: Thu, May 31: Cavaliers at Warriors, 9 p.m. ET, ABC/R
Game 2: Sun, June 3: Cavaliers at Warriors, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/R
Game 3: Wed, June 6: Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. ET, ABC/R
Game 4: Fri, June 8: Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. ET, ABC/R
*Game 5: Mon, June 11: Cavaliers at Warriors, 9 p.m. ET, ABC/R
*Game 6: Thu, June 14: Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. ET, ABC/R
*Game 7: Sun, June 17: Cavaliers at Warriors, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/R

* – If Necessary
R – ESPN Radio



Warriors win Game 7 and return to the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row

The Golden State Warriors are headed back to the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row.

It wasn’t without a come back from the Warriors and a little bit of missed shots from the Houston Rockets to help the defending champions seal their way to the Finals again. The Rockets missed a total of 27 straight three-point shots in the second half.

Golden State trailed by as many as 15 points and found themselves back in front in a similar fashion to Game 6. After erasing the Rockets lead the Warriors never trailed into the second quarter as Stephen Curry scored 14 of his 27 points in the third quarter.

Kevin Durant led all Warriors with 34 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

Live by the three or die by the three certainly applied for the Rockets in Game 7 as they only connected on 7 of the 44 attempts from behind the three-point line. James Harden led the Rockets with 32 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. The Rockets played without Chris Paul for the second straight game due to a hamstring injury. Houston was outscored 33-15 in the third quarter and only could get as close as within five points in the fourth quarter.

The Rockets finished with the league’s best record at 65 wins in the regular season. Harden enters another summer as one of the MVP Candidate Finalists which will be announced during the NBA’s Award Show on June 25th.

Golden State will now revisit the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row facing the very same Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors will host Game 1 on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for a 9 PM EST start.

Rockets take series lead 3-2 as Warriors turnover ball in closing moments

Chris Paul has come out and played like this series may be his very last. The veteran point guard led the Houston Rockets in the second half with 18 of his 20 points coming after halftime. Just under the three-minute mark, Paul would connect on a contested three-point basket as the shot clock expired. The defender would be Stephen Curry as they ran back on the other side of the court Paul would give Curry a taste of his own shimmy dance.

Paul would finish with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists as the Rockets pulled away with the 98-94 victory. James Harden finished with 19 points on 5-for-21 shooting from the field. The MVP candidate would go 1-for-6 shooting in the fourth quarter.

For the second straight game, Andre Iguodala did not play due to an injury. The Warriors biggest lead would only be four points in Game 5 and finished with 16 turnovers as a team. The defending champs were led by Kevin Durant who finished with 29 points and 4 rebounds.

Draymond Green lost the ball in the final Warrior possession as they had one last chance to tie or win the game with a three-point basket. The Rockets recovered the ball and the 3-2 lead fell into Houston’s lap.

The Warriors will return home for Game 6 and on the brink of elimination. ”We haven’t been in this position before … so it’s a chapter we need to figure out and finish the story,” Stephen Curry said.
In the final moments of Game 5, Paul hurt his right hamstring and could not continue to play out the final minute of the game. ”His spirits aren’t great,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. ”He wanted to be out there, and for sure he’s worried … we’ll see tomorrow how it goes.”

Game 6 is scheduled for a 9 PM EST tip-off on TNT Saturday.

Celtics go up 3-2 with Jayson Tatum leading the way

The momentum of the series shifted slightly as the Cleveland Cavaliers tied up the Eastern Conference Finals 2-2. Heading back to Boston a place where the Celtics have flourished all postseason, the Cavaliers looked to end the Celtics unbeaten streak at home in the 2018 Playoffs. The momentum did not remain and the Celtics certainly were not ready to lose at home.

Celtics Rookie Jayson Tatum was announced as one of the NBA’s 2018-2018 First All-Rookie team earlier this week. Tatum would finish the game with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. The leading scorer of the Celtics and already playing on one of the NBA’s biggest stage. The bench support for Boston came from Marcus Morris who scored 13 points and Marcus Smart who scored 13 himself. As for the Celtics defense they were able to hold LeBron James to only two fourth quarter points.

The Cavaliers were led by none other than, James who scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He also had 5 assist and 6 turnovers. Kevin Love was the only other Cavalier to register double digits scoring with 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the field. While the Celtics shot 36-percent from the field against the Cavaliers 42-percent, there was a struggle for Cleveland again from the three-point line. The Cavaliers finished the game shooting 26-percent from downtown.

The Celtics built a 21-point lead in the fourth-quarter and the the closest the Cavaliers would get is within 12 points. There was no looking back as Al Horford slammed in an alley-oop from Terry Rozier and put the Celtics up 85-71 with just under six minutes left in the fourth.

The Cavaliers will host the Celtics in Game 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 PM EST on ESPN.

”We’re looking forward to having an opportunity to force a Game 7,” said James. ”It’s up to us to see if we can come back here for one more.”

James is seeking his eight straight NBA Finals appearance but that is in jeopardy in Game 6 should the Celtics prevail. When asked about his fatigue level James responded, ”I had my moments, but I think everybody at this point is tired, worn down whatever the case may be,” he said. ”I was still trying to make plays, put our team in position to win.”

While the Celtics are on the road and have been shaky, history tell us teams that win Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series win 83 percent of the time.

Chevall Kanhai
Baseline Times Contributor

Celtics take 2-0 series lead in comeback against Cavaliers

21 points and 4-for-7 from the three-point line in the first quarter from LeBron James was a sure lock that the Cleveland Cavaliers had a tone set to dominate the rest of Game 2. A seven-point halftime lead was quickly erased in the second half as the Boston Celtics received a boost from Terry Rozier.

Rozier scored 14 of his 18 points in the third quarter as the Celtics built a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter. There was no catching up for the Cavaliers in the fourth as the Celtics built their biggest lead at 15 points.

Cleveland received help from Kevin Love who scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. The starting backcourt of George Hill and J.R. Smith was disappointing shooting 1-for-11 from the field. The only other Cavalier scoring in double figures was Kyle Korver who scored 11 points on 2-for-5 shooting from the three-point line.

In Game 1 the Cavaliers shot 15-percent from the three-point line and improved that to 32-percent in Game 2. The Celtics forced 15 Cavalier turnovers.

When asked about being concerned James stated, ”I think I’ll be fine. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. You go out and when you lay everything on the line, at the end of the day, you can live with that,” he said. ”They did what they had to do, and that was protect home, and now it’s our time to try to do that, as well.”

Late in the third quarter, J.R. Smith pushed Al Horford on a layup attempt. Marcus Smart felt it was malicious and attempted to get in Smith’s face. Smith would then push Smart back as they had to be separated.

”I blatantly pushed him. It wasn’t like I was trying to low bridge him or something. Just make sure he didn’t get it,” Smith said. ”It was a good, hard foul.”

The Cavaliers will head back to Cleveland down 0-2 and have three full days to prepare. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 PM EST on ABC.