PHOENIX SUNS

Tiebreakers come into focus as Suns jostle for playoff positioning

Jan 27, 2023, 2:08 PM | Updated: Mar 14, 2023, 7:16 am

Eleven teams in the NBA’s Western Conference, spanning the No. 3 through No. 13 seeds, are within a five-game range of one another.

It’s a wild fight for playoff seeding, where any of those 11 teams could hit April hunting for homecourt advantage in the first round, hoping to avoid the play-in tournament or more desperately seeing that quick-elimination tournament as the best-case scenario.

For the 25-25 Phoenix Suns, a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday slots them in the seventh seed, in the middle of that mess.

Let’s put the cart a little before the horse to consider which tiebreakers they might have an advantage in against the 10 other Western Conference teams within range. This will also help us sort out which games against Western Conference foes for the rest of the season could have implications beyond the win-loss column.

As of Jan. 27, Phoenix owns the tiebreaker with eight of those 10 teams. Only one of those, a tiebreaker again Golden State, is locked in through the rest of the year. On the other side of things, the Suns have locked in a lower seed in a tiebreaking event against the Portland Trail Blazers.

There remains a lot to play out.

Scroll to the bottom of this story to see the full tiebreakers for two-way ties and multi-team ties.

Phoenix Suns tiebreaker tracker

No. 3 seed – Sacramento Kings (27-20)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Suns

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 1-0 with three games left (Feb. 14, March 11, March 24)


No. 4 seed – New Orleans Pelicans (26-23)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Suns

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 2-2 with no games left

Second tiebreaker – Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division: Not applicable

Third tiebreaker – Division won-lost percentage for teams in the same division: Not applicable

Fourth tiebreaker – Conference won-lost percentage: The Suns at 19-14 (.576) have a slim advantage over Pelicans’ 16-12 (.571) record.


No. 5 seed – Los Angeles Clippers (27-24)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Suns

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 2-0 with two games left (Feb. 16, season finale on April 9)


No. 6 seed – Dallas Mavericks (26-24)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Mavericks

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 1-2 with one game left (March 5)


No. 8 seed – Minnesota Timberwolves (25-25)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Suns

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 2-1 with one game left (March 29)


No. 9 seed – Golden State Warriors (24-24)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Suns — LOCKED

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 3-0 with one game left (March 13)


No. 10 seed – Utah Jazz (25-26)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Suns

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 1-1 with one game left (March 27)

Second tiebreaker – Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division: Not applicable

Third tiebreaker – Division won-lost percentage for teams in the same division: Not applicable

Fourth tiebreaker – Conference won-lost percentage: The Suns at 19-14 (.576) have an advantage over Utah’s 18-15 (.545) record.


No. 11 seed – Oklahoma City Thunder (23-25)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Suns

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: The teams have yet to begin a four-game season series (Feb. 24, March 8, March 19, April 2)

Second tiebreaker – Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division: Not applicable

Third tiebreaker – Division won-lost percentage for teams in the same division: Not applicable

Fourth tiebreaker – Conference won-lost percentage: The Suns at 19-14 (.576) have an advantage to the Thunder’s 11-13 (.458) mark.


No. 12 seed – Portland Trail Blazers (23-25)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Trail Blazers — LOCKED

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 1-2 with no games left


No. 13 seed – Los Angeles Lakers (23-26)

Who has the tiebreaker right now? Suns

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 2-0 with two games left (March 22, April 7)


NBA playoff seeding tiebreaker procedures

TIEBREAKER BASIS FOR TWO-WAY TIES:

  • (-) Tie breaker not needed (better overall winning percentage)
  • (1) Head-to-head won-lost percentage
  • (2) Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division
  • (3) Division won-lost percentage for teams in the same division
  • (4) Conference won-lost percentage
  • (5) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, own conference
  • (6) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, other conference
  • (7) Net Points, all games

TIEBREAKER BASIS FOR MULTI-WAY TIES:

  • (-) Tie breaker not needed (better overall winning percentage)
  • (1) Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division
  • (2) Head-to-head won-lost percentage
  • (3) Division won-lost percentage for teams in the same division
  • (4) Conference won-lost percentage
  • (5) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, own conference
  • (6) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, other conference
  • (7) Net Points, all games

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