There are four Western Conference teams fighting for two seeds — 8th and 9th — in hopes of keeping playoff dreams alive.
Today the Spurs play at 5:30 against a Utah Jazz team they just beat six days ago. That said, the Jazz they faced had very few of their key players and still kept the score close. Since the Oklahoma City Thunder won last night, the Jazz are locked into the 6th seed and could rest players again.
We’re all Spurs fans, so let’s start with the premise that the Silver & Black are going to shine as they have throughout the Orlando bubble. A win this afternoon keeps them in contention if two of the following happen:
- The Memphis Grizzlies lose to the Milwaukee Bucks at 3PM,
- The Phoenix Suns lose to the Dallas Mavericks at 3PM, and/or
- The Portland Trail Blazers lose to the Brooklyn Nets at 8PM.
Memphis lost Jaren Jackson Jr. to a season-ending knee injury and have only won one game since the season reboot. They are playing the top NBA team and — barring major resting from Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer (aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo’s suspension)— should lose this game.
That leaves either the Phoenix Suns or the Portland Trail Blazers needing a loss. This is going to be tough.
The Suns are 7-0 in the bubble and they are looking great. They are playing the Dallas Mavericks who are locked into the 7th seed and may chose to rest their key players. That said, when star players sit, young up-and-comers as well as role players looking forward to next season may hope for that breakout game (Austin Rivers scored 41 points a few nights ago for the Houston Rockets). Anything is possible.
The Portland Trail Blazers who have gone 5-2 in Orlando are in a similar situation. The Brooklyn Nets are also locked into the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference and might be looking forward to the Raptors. Same rules apply, a surprise upset stays in the mix. But never count out a determined Damian Lillard.
Four Western Conference teams. Three teams playing opponents who could feasibly rest players. Two seeds. One day to determine the Spurs future.
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