The Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, and Portland Trail Blazers are hoping to get the opportunity to take on the LA Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
The race to the No. 8 spot comes down to the team’s final game
When the NBA announced the return of the season, 22 teams returned to finish the regular season. Each team had eight games left to play. As of August 13, the Grizzlies are in the play-in game for the eighth spot as they won their final regular-season game against the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Suns still have a chance as they won their final game against the Dallas Mavericks going 8-0 during the NBA restart.
The Suns will need help from the Trail Blazers. If Portland loses, the Suns will have the No. 9 spot and will compete in the play-in game. The San Antonio Spurs were competing for a spot, but the Grizzlies and Suns won their final game, and they needed two of the three teams to lose. It’s the first time in 22 years that the Spurs won’t play in the postseason.
So, all Portland has to do is when their game, and if they do, they will play the Grizzlies in the play-in game. If Portland loses, then it will be the Suns and Grizzlies playing in the play-in game. The battle for the No. 8 spot is certainly heating up in the Western Conference.
Who’s the better team out of the three?
Looking at what all three teams have done during the NBA restart, it’s tough to choose who’s the better team. There’s no question that the Suns have played the best basketball during the eight-game stretch as they were the only team to go undefeated in the bubble. Booker stepped up in a big way and let the NBA know that he can lead a team down the stretch. If there was an NBA Bubble MVP, he would be in consideration to win that award.
Portland has been led by Damian Lillard, who has had multiple performances scoring 50 or more. In his last two games, he dropped 51 points and 61 points. Lillard has made it known from the beginning of the NBA restart that he’s here on business and wants to play in the playoffs.
The Grizzlies lost their first four games during the NBA restart, and they only won two games. But they came into the NBA restart holding on to the No. 8 spot, and they made a way to stay in the playoff hunt. Out of the three teams, Portland is the best because of the experience they have, and Lillard’s been on a tear lately.
Who will the LA Lakers play in the first round of the playoffs?
If Portland wins their final regular-season game against the Brooklyn Nets, Portland will win the play-in game and go into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed. If Portland loses, then Phoenix will win the play-in game. With Brooklyn already in the playoffs, there’s a good chance that they will rest their starters during the final game of the regular season. Portland, on the other hand, will go all out and try to win the last game. Don’t be surprised if Lillard has another breakout performance.
If the Lakers face the Trail Blazers in the first round, it’s going to be a battle, and the series could potentially go to six or seven games. Portland is one team that teams do not want to play right now especially with how Lillard is playing. The play-in game will be very exciting to watch as the whole world will see what team gets the final playoff spot.