NBA Playoff Picture: Suns move to 5-0 in bubble, pull within half-game of Blazers for potential play-in spot

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Highlights: Lakers vs. Pacers

Damian Lillard missed a pair of late free throws, and the Portland Trail Blazers suffered a potentially pivotal loss to the Clippers as they continue to vie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. With the loss, Portland now trails No. 8 Memphis but continues to hold the inside track on the No. 9 spot and a spot in a play-in series … barely. The Suns and Spurs are both a half game back of Portland. 

Reminder: At the conclusion of each team’s eight seeding games, the top seven seeds in each conference will be locked. At that point, if the No. 9 seed is within four games of the No. 8 seed, those two will decide the final spot via a play-in series, with the lower seed having to beat the higher seed twice, but the higher seed only needing to win once. 

Here’s a rundown of Saturday’s bubble results:

Below is a look at where the playoff picture stands, from seeds to current matchups.

*This article will update at the conclusion of each night until the seeding games conclude.

Western Conference

1. Lakers

51-18 (–)

vs. Grizzlies/Blazers

2. Clippers

47-22 (4.5 GB)

vs. Mavericks

3. Nuggets

46-24 (6 GB)

vs. Thunder

4. Rockets

43-25 (8 GB)

vs. Jazz

5. Thunder

42-26 (9 GB)

vs. Rockets

6. Jazz

43-27 (9 GB)

vs. Nuggets

7. Mavericks

42-30 (11 GB)

vs. Clippers

8. Grizzlies

33-37 (19 GB)

vs. Blazers (Play-in)

The Thunder and Jazz flip-flop seeds again after Utah’s loss to Denver, which strengthened the Nuggets’ grip on the No 3 seed over the Rockets. Memphis has a bit more breathing room at No. 8 for the moment. 

Race for No. 8

9. Trail Blazers


1.5 GB

10. Suns


2 GB

11. Spurs


2 GB

12. Pelicans


2.5 GB

13. Kings


3.5 GB

The Blazers continue to have the inside track on a play-in series with Memphis because they will have the tiebreaker based on winning percentage, but the Suns are coming. Phoenix moved to 5-0 in the bubble with a victory over Miami on Saturday. 

Eastern Conference

1. Bucks

55-15 (–)

vs. Magic

2. Raptors

49-19 (5.5 GB)

vs. Nets

3. Celtics

46-23 (9 GB)

vs. 76ers

4. Heat

43-26 (12 GB)

vs. Pacers

5. Pacers

43-27 (12.5 GB)

vs. Heat

6. 76ers

42-27 (13 GB)

vs. Celtics

7. Nets

33-36 (22 GB)

vs. Raptors

8. Magic

32-38 (23.5 GB)

vs. Bucks

No change in the Eastern Conference standings on Saturday. 

There is no race for the No. 8 seed in the East. The Wizards have been mathematically eliminated. 

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