Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Four Squads, Two Spots: Today Will Be The Best Day Of The NBA Bubble To Date

Portland’s Damian Lillard, Memphis’ Ja Morant, San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan and Phoenix’s Devin Booker
Portland’s Damian Lillard, Memphis’ Ja Morant, San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan and Phoenix’s Devin Booker
Illustration: Eric Barrow (Getty Images)

By the end of the night, The Bubble is going to pop for two teams in Orlando.

Of the seven games that will take place today, four of them will determine who will play in this weekend’s play-in game for the eighth and ninth seed in the Western Conference.

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Things are figured out in the East, as the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and Orlando Magic are seeded one through eight.

In the West, it’s the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, and the Dallas Mavericks, as the Portland Trailblazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, and San Antonio Spurs will fight for the last two spots.

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Today’s slate goes:

  • Wizards vs. Celtics, noon ET
  • Kings vs. Lakers, 1:30 ET
  • Grizzlies vs. Bucks, 4pm ET
  • Suns vs. Mavericks, 4pm (TNT)
  • Spurs vs. Jazz, 6:30pm (TNT)
  • Trail Blazers vs. Nets, 9pm (TNT)
  • Pelicans vs. Magic, 9 pm

Here’s what’s at stake:

Portland will be seeded:

  • No. 8 if they win or the Grizzlies, Suns, and Spurs all lose
  • No. 9 if they lose and two teams out of the Grizzlies, Suns, and Spurs lose
  • Eliminated if they lose and two out of the Grizzlies, Suns, and Spurs win

Memphis will be seeded:

  • No. 8 if they win and the Blazers lose
  • No. 9 if they win and the Blazers win or Grizzlies, Suns, and Spurs all lose
  • Eliminated if they lose and the Suns or Spurs win

Phoenix will be seeded:

  • No. 8 if they win and the Blazers and Grizzlies lose
  • No. 9 if they win and the Blazers or Grizzlies lose
  • Eliminated if they lose, or the Blazers and Grizzlies win

San Antonino will be seeded:

  • No. 8 if they win and the Blazers and Grizzlies both lose
  • No. 9 if they win and two teams out of the Blazers, Grizzlies, and Suns lose
  • Eliminated if they lose or two teams out of Blazers, Grizzlies or Suns win

Confused yet?

Cool, join the club.

The play-in game will take place on Saturday. If the No. 8 seed wins, it’s over. If the No. 9 seed wins then both teams will face-off on Sunday in a pseudo Game 7. There wasn’t a team within four games of the No. 8 Orlando Magic in the East, so they don’t have any play-in scenarios.

Game 1 will be on ABC at 2:30 p.m. ET, while Game 2 will be on ESPN at 4:30 p.m. ET. on Sunday, if necessary.

For the sake of ratings, the league has to be hoping that the Suns and Blazers meet in the play-in game giving us a battle between Devin Booker and Damian Lillard. Booker has led the Suns to an undefeated record in the bubble, as he’s averaged 31 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game. Lillard is averaging 37 points per game and has scored 112 combined points in his last two outings.

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“I told you when I first came here,” Lillard told TNT sideline reporter Chris Haynes on Tuesday. “I said, ‘I ain’t coming here to waste my time.’ They gave us a chance to get in like we asked for, and that’s what we here to do. Job still ain’t done, but you know what I’m here for. Our work ain’t done yet, but we’re fighting for it.”

Ball out, fellas.

 

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.

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