NBA seeding games a success
Smooth sailing and no interruptions! The NBA restart has thus far been a success as it attempts to finish out the 2019-2020 season. Announced on August 5th, 2020, the NBA reported yet again, zero positive COVID-19 tests after the first month of locking down in the bubble in Orlando, FL. The NBA has now completed a little over half of their seeding games.
With 22 teams scheduled to play eight seeding games, we are a little over the halfway mark. The final stretch begins now.
Some teams are content like the Los Angeles Lakers who clinched the first seed in the Western Conference early last week. The Milwaukee Bucks who also officially clinched the Eastern Conference recently.
(and if you haven’t checked out the standings you probably should check out our standings. Updated with bubble records and around the clock for your pleasure!)
Other teams could be switching seeding places depending on how their remaining games play out. All teams in the east and west have clinched their playoff spot except the Memphis Grizzlies in the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trailblazers and Phoenix Suns are coming in hot behind the Grizzlies. Honorable mentions are the San Antonio Spurs who are a half-game back from the 9th seed but due to win percentage considered the 10th seed.
The Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans are officially eliminated from playoff contention.
The Phoenix Suns making the playoffs
Undefeated? That’s right STILL undefeated! Currently sitting at 6-0 the Suns have pulled themselves in contention of forcing a play-in tournament with the 8th seed. If the Memphis Grizzlies continue a downward spiral can the Suns take the 8th seed?
They are currently in the 10th behind Portland. Keep in mind the NBA will use win percentage to determine final seedings as not all teams will play the same amount of games after the final 8 seeding games.
The Suns remaining games are against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, and Dallas Mavericks. Should all three of these teams be content or locked into their seeds Phoenix might face rested line-ups against the mentioned teams. A plus for a Suns team trying to make a case for the playoffs.
Play-in tournament in the Western Conference
Of course, as most may have expected, the Washington Wizards have a worse record and win percentage than the Charlotte Hornets (who wasn’t even invited to the bubble by the way).
Indeed, the Wizards are definitely eliminated from playoff contention. Therefore, the Eastern Conference will not need a play-in tournament.
However, out west, the race for the 8th seed has gotten hot. Funny how we just mentioned the Suns right? At the beginning of the restart, the Grizzles held a 3.5 game lead over the 9th seed. Their goal? To win enough games to try and be five games or more ahead of the 9th seed.
Memphis started 0-4 in the restart and we’ll cut them some slack. After all, Jaren Jackson Jr was ruled out early last week for the remainder of the season due to a torn meniscus. A huge loss for the Grizzlies and even further disappointing that they have Portland and Phoenix hot on their trail to take over the 8th seed.
It took about a week but the Grizzlies won their first seeding game last Friday in a 121-92 victory against the Thunder. The question is can they win a couple more to remain in the 8th seed? Their remaining schedule sees Toronto, Boston, and Milwaukee. Basically, the Eastern Conference’s top three teams.
By the looks of the east, these teams have most likely unofficially locked into their seeds. Will they be kind and rest their best against Memphis?
Will Damian Lillard be sending anyone home this year?
Beyond the games, there is still some drama in the bubble. In case you missed it, the NBA bubble caused some tensions to burst via social media. Damian Lillard had some words to share during his interview about the Clippers bench celebrating his two missed free throws during this past Saturday’s 122-117 loss.
“PG did the wave because he also was surprised [about the missed free throws] because he experienced being waved at last year,” Lillard said of his famous wave goodbye to Russell Westbrook and George after his walk-off game-winning 3-pointer that eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the first round last year.
“Asking me about Patrick Beverley, who I sent him home before at the end of a game. Paul George is a guy sent home by me last year in the playoffs, so they know. The reason they reacting like that is because of what they expecting from me, which is a sign of respect, and it just shows what I have done at a high clip more times than not. I am not offended by it.
“If anything, it should just tell you how much it hurt them to go through what I put them through in those situations previously.”Source
Dame Time in jeopardy of going home before the playoffs
Besides social media jabs, the Trailblazers need every win they can get. With the loss to the Clippers on Saturday, they allowed the Suns to pull even closer to the 9th seed who are now only a half-game back behind Portland.
The Blazers will face the Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, and Brooklyn Nets in their final three games which will be crucial to compete with win percentages and tie-breakers should Phoenix continue blazing up the bubble.
With Lillard’s history of sending others home, his chances of going home himself early are definitely high. The Western Conference 8th seed race will be the draw to watch out of the remaining seeding games.