NBA Playoff Picture: Damian Lillard’s 61 points lift Blazers into No. 8 seed; Suns still need help for play-in

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Damian Lillard is some kind of mission in the Orlando bubble. After scoring 51 points on Sunday, Lillard put up 61 points Tuesday as the Blazers edged the Mavericks 134-131. 

With the win, combined with the Grizzlies’ loss to the Celtics, the Blazers moved into sole possession of the No. 8 seed, a half-game up on Memphis, Phoenix and San Antonio with one game to play. The Blazers also hold the tiebreaker over all those teams via winning percentage. 

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. 

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

52-18 (–)

vs. Blazers/Grizzlies

2. Clippers

47-23 (5 GB)

vs. Mavericks

3. Nuggets

46-25 (6.5 GB)

vs. Jazz

4. Rockets

44-26 (8 GB)

vs. Thunder

5. Thunder

43-27 (9 GB)

vs. Rockets

6. Jazz

43-28 (9.5 GB)

vs. Nuggets

7. Mavericks

43-31 (11 GB)

vs. Clippers

8. Blazers

34-39 (19.5 GB)

vs. Grizzlies (Play-in)

Portland moved to 5-2 in the bubble with a huge victory over the Mavericks on Tuesday. With the win, the Blazers move into the No. 8 seed. A win over Brooklyn in their final seeding game with secure a spot in the play-in series for the Blazers, who would then only have to beat the No. 9 seed once. 

Race for No. 8

9. Grizzlies


.5 GB

10. Suns


.5 GB

11. Spurs


.5 GB

The Suns moved to 7-0 in the bubble with a win over the Sixers on Tuesday, but they still need help to get into the play-in series. The Grizzlies hold the tiebreaker, meaning the Suns need to beat the Mavericks (who will likely be resting their stars) and hope Memphis loses to the Bucks, who will likely also be resting a number of regulars. 

Blazers: vs. NetsGrizzlies: vs. BucksSuns: vs. MavericksSpurs: vs. Jazz Eastern Conference

1. Bucks

56-16 (–)

vs. Magic

2. Raptors

51-19 (4 GB)

vs. Nets

3. Celtics

48-23 (7.5 GB)

vs. 76ers

4. Heat

44-27 (11.5 GB)

vs. Pacers

5. Pacers

43-28 (12.5 GB)

vs. Heat

6. 76ers

42-29 (13.5 GB)

vs. Celtics

7. Nets

35-36 (20.5 GB)

vs. Raptors

8. Magic

32-40 (24 GB)

vs. Bucks

No change in the Eastern Conference standings on Tuesday. 

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

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