With the addition of play-in games to the 2021 NBA playoffs, the scramble for seeding is wilder — and extra vital — than ever, with virtually every game down the stretch having vital postseason implications.
Play-in matchups after Friday’s video games
Play-in video games to be held Tuesday by Friday of subsequent week
Recreation 3: Wizards/Pacers winner at Celtics/Hornets loser — winner is No. 8 seed in playoffs
Recreation 3: Grizzlies/Spurs winner at Lakers/Warriors loser — winner is No. 8 seed in playoffs
Groups that clinched Friday
Play-in spots (seeds 7-10): Celtics, Hornets, Pacers, Wizards
Play-in spots: Warriors, Grizzlies, Spurs
TBD: Portland Trail Blazers, Lakers
This is a breakdown of the important thing video games from Friday and what the outcomes imply for the seedings:
Joel Embiid comes up with a block as Ben Simmons goes all the best way for a two-handed jam vs. the Magic.
The highest seed within the East is formally settled, and it belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers. With a win over the Magic on Friday, the Sixers have clinched home-court benefit all through the Japanese Convention playoffs, and possibly extra importantly, positioned themselves on the alternative aspect of the bracket from the Nets and Bucks.
It is the primary time the Sixers have been the highest seed since 2001, when Allen Iverson led them all through the playoffs to the NBA Finals towards the Lakers.
Who Philly performs within the first spherical can be decided by the play-in, with the Celtics, Hornets, Pacers and Wizards all in play for the 8-seed.
Taking the highest seed is a lift, however not essentially an accomplishment for the Sixers, with coach Doc Rivers downplaying its significance earlier within the week.
“I do not take a look at the No. 1 seed as being this nice achievement,” Rivers stated. “I simply assume it is nice to have due to home-court [advantage]. The achievement is successful [the championship].” — Royce Younger
It has been a hanging turnaround for the Wizards, who on April 5 had been 17-32 and outdoors the East’s playoff image. Since then, they’ve gone 16-6, which featured a seven-game successful streak, boosting them into the highest 10.
With a sport to go, there’s nonetheless extra to play for because the Wizards are a sport behind the Hornets and Pacers for the eighth and ninth spots. The distinction between No. 8 and No. 9 is big, clearly, going from a potential one-and-done sport to needing to lose two video games to be eradicated.
And guess what? The Wizards shut the common season towards the Hornets on Sunday, whereas the Pacers end with the Lakers (in what’s a close to must-win for L.A.). The Wizards maintain the tiebreaker on the Pacers, which might bump them forward if Washington closes with a win and the Lakers beat Indiana. The Hornets play the Knicks on Saturday, and with a win, lock up a better spot than the Wizards by advantage of a 2-1 season collection tiebreaker. However ought to the Hornets lose, it units up an enormous seeding sport between Washington and Charlotte. — Younger
The Clippers misplaced to the worst crew within the NBA — and it really is not a nasty factor.
They fell out of third place with their 122-115 loss to the Rockets and Denver’s 104-91 win over Detroit. The Clippers’ loss additionally clinched the Pacific Division for the Phoenix Suns.
The Clips used this sport towards Houston as a relaxation sport (second of a back-to-back), sitting Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Patrick Beverley (hand), Reggie Jackson (Achilles) and Terance Mann (private) didn’t play. Serge Ibaka, the ultimate rotation participant to return from damage, made his return after lacking 30 straight video games with a again concern and regarded good with 15 factors, seven rebounds and 4 assists in 17 minutes.
Denver owns the tiebreaker over the Clippers for the third seed heading into the ultimate day of the common season on Sunday. However the fourth seed really may find yourself being the higher spot as a result of it means avoiding the Lakers, who may nonetheless transfer into sixth. The fourth seed will face both Dallas or Portland; each groups personal the tiebreaker over the Lakers.
The Clippers would enter a matchup towards Dallas or Portland with confidence. L.A. dealt with Dallas within the postseason final 12 months and swept Portland this 12 months.
The Clippers end the season at Oklahoma Metropolis whereas Denver faces Portland on Sunday. — Ohm Youngmisuk
The play-in event will not be the Mavericks’ drawback. Dallas clinched a top-six end within the West with a 114-110 win Friday over what’s remaining of the Toronto Raptors.
Dorian Finney-Smith drains a giant 3-pointer, and Luka Doncic follows him up with a one-handed slam, because the Mavs end off the Raptors.
The victory gave the Mavs a 1 ½-game cushion over the Los Angeles Lakers with solely a highway journey to Minnesota remaining on Dallas’ regular-season schedule. The Mavs can declare the fifth seed with a win over the Timberwolves or a Portland loss Sunday to the Nuggets.
The sixth seed remains to be inside the Lakers’ attain if LA wins out and the Path Blazers lose at house to the Nuggets.