After a huge 110-102 victory over Houston on Tuesday evening, the Portland Trail Blazers entered Wednesday with sole possession of the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference.
No matter what happened during Wednesday's slate of games, the Blazers would be able to hold onto the No. 9 seed but to Portland's benefit, Wednesday could not have gone better.
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The Memphis Grizzlies, who hold the No. 8 seed in the West, lost to the Utah Jazz 124-115 to fall again in the standings. The Grizzlies entered the bubble with a 3.5-game lead for the eighth seed, but after losing their first four games in Orlando, only lead Portland by 1.0 game.
The remaining schedule for Memphis includes games against OKC, Toronto, Boston, and Milwaukee. Those last three teams may have playoff seeding secured by that time, however, and could elect to rest their starters against Memphis.
Additionally, on Wednesday, the San Antonio Spurs entered their game against Denver a 0.5 game behind Portland for the ninth seed. But a 132-126 loss to the Nuggets drops the Spurs to a full game (1.0) behind the Blazers in the standings.
Note: Portland holds the tiebreaker against all teams fighting for the eighth seed due to having played more games before the season got suspended, therefore having a higher win percentage.
So, the standings are as follows:
8. Memphis Grizzlies Remaining Schedule: OKC, Toronto, Boston, Milwaukee
9. Portland Trail Blazers (1.0 game behind) Remaining schedule: Denver, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia, Dallas, Brooklyn
10. San Antonio Spurs (2.0 games behind) Remaining schedule: Utah, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio
11. New Orleans Pelicans (2.0 games behind) Remaining schedule: Sacramento, Washington, San Antonio, Sacramento, Orlando
12. Phoenix Suns (2.5 games behind) Remaining schedule: Indiana, Miami, OKC, Philadelphia, Dallas
13. Sacramento (3.0 games behind) Remaining schedule: New Orleans, Brooklyn, Houston, New Orleans, Los Angeles Lakers
One wrinkle to watch will be the health of Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons who left the Sixers game against Washington Wednesday afternoon and did not return.
Ben Simmons heads to the locker room after an apparent leg injury pic.twitter.com/hDZDycMszl— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 5, 2020
Simmons has "no pain or swelling in left knee" according for ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Still, the Sixers may elect to rest Simmons for the postseason which will affect their chances in games against Portland and Phoenix down the stretch.
On Thursday, August 6, Portland will play the Denver Nuggets, who will be on the second of a back-to-back, at 5:00 p.m. PT here on NBC Sports Northwest.
A Blazers victory will give them a 1.5-game lead over San Antonio for the ninth seed and only a half-game behind Memphis for the eighth seed.
Other games to watch on August 6:
New Orleans vs Sacramento (10:30 a.m. PT)
Who do we want to win? Sacramento.
Phoenix vs Indiana (1:00 p.m. PT)
Who do we want to win? Indiana.
Best Case Scenario: SAC, IND, POR all win. Portland 0.5 game behind Memphis and 1.5 games ahead of San Antonio and 2.0 ahead of New Orleans.
Worst Case Scenario: NOP, PHX win, and POR losses. POR and NOP tied for ninth, 1.5 games behind Memphis for eighth.