NBA standings: Blazers-Nets decide Suns’ play-in chances
The Phoenix Suns completed a perfect appearance in the NBA bubble with a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.
Now their fate is up to a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Brooklyn Nets at 6 p.m. Arizona time Thursday.
The Suns, Grizzlies and Blazers sit at 34-39 on the year with Portland having one more game to go.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks that ended at the same time as the Suns’ 128-102 win over the Mavs locked Memphis into the play-in series. If Portland wins against Brooklyn on Thursday night, it will hold the No. 8 seed in the play-in round.
Phoenix and Memphis winning simultaneously eliminated the San Antonio Spurs from making the play-in round.
Before going 8-0 at Disney World, the Suns entered Orlando needing to make up 2.5 games on the ninth seed to earn a play-in spot, but Phoenix needed to surpass the Blazers, Spurs, Pelicans and Kings. The Suns would have to be within 4.0 games of the eighth seed to earn a play-in opportunity, and the Grizzlies sat 6.0 games ahead of them when play in the bubble began.
Memphis lost its first four games and starting power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. before picking up two wins in the final four outings to hold off the surging Suns and others heading into the final day.
The Blazers face the Nets looking to hold off a Brooklyn team hit by injuries and opt-outs but with a surprising 5-2 record in the bubble.
Because teams played an unequal number of games before the coronavirus suspended the season, the first tiebreakers for teams will be winning percentage. That means if Portland loses, Phoenix will be the No. 9 seed and play Memphis, which has the same 34-39 record but beat the Suns head-to-head this year.
If the Suns can win the No. 9 seed, they would need to beat the Grizzlies twice in two games to earn the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, earning them a chance to face the Los Angeles Lakers, who locked up the top seed.