Blazers

Blazers: Examining all current NBA Western Conference playoff race scenarios

Blazers

The NBA has reached the final stretch of the 2020-21 regular season, which means fans nationwide are keeping an eye on the standings at all times.

With playoff basketball just a few weeks away, it's not too early to begin previewing the field and the likelihood of each matchup for the Portland Trail Blazers. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

Here's what you need to know:

Following Saturday's win over San Antonio, the Blazers are a full game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the seventh seed while owning the tiebreaker. It seems overwhelmingly likely the Lakers will be in the play-in as the seventh seed.

The highest the Blazers can conceivably advance is to the fifth seed, which the Blazers trail the Mavericks by a full game for. Portland also owns the tiebreaker.

The Blazers have a 4.0 game lead over Golden State for the eighth seed while owning the tiebreaker so Portland cannot get lower than the seventh seed unless Memphis wins out and Portland loses out, in addition to the Lakers winning two more games. 

Here are the play-in rules.

1. The top six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs. Teams 7-10 qualify for a three-game play-in tournament.

2. The seventh-place team will host the eighth-place team, and the winner of that game will be the No. 7 seed.

3. The ninth-place team will host the 10th-place team, and the loser of that game is eliminated.

 

4. The loser of the 7-8 game will then host the winner of the 9-10 game. The winner of that game will be the No. 8 seed.

Western Conference Standings as of 5/10/2021, 12:30 p.m. PT

  1. Utah Jazz (50-19)
  2. Phoenix Suns (48-21, 2.0 GB)
  3. LA Clippers (46-23, 4.0 GB)
  4. Denver Nuggets (45-24, 5.0 GB)
  5. Portland Trail Blazers (40-29, 10.0 GB)
  6. Dallas Mavericks (40-29, 10.0 GB)
  7. Los Angeles Lakers (39-30, 11.0 GB)
  8. Golden State Warriors (37-33, 13.5 GB)
  9. Memphis Grizzlies (36-33, 14 GB)
  10. San Antonio Spurs (33-35, 16.5 GB)
  11. New Orleans Pelicans (31-38, 19.0 GB)

Remaining Strength of Schedule Among Teams in West Playoff Race

Source: Tankathon

  1. Portland (0.691 WIN PCT, 3 games left)
  2. San Antonio (0.649 WIN PCT, 4 games left)
  3. Phoenix, (0.517 WIN PCT, 3 games left)
  4. Golden State (0.486 WIN PCT, 2 games left)
  5. Memphis (0.476 WIN PCT, 3 games left)
  6. Utah (0.442 WIN PCT, 3 games left)
  7. Denver (0.394 WIN PCT, 3 games left)
  8. New Orleans (0.542 WIN PCT, 4 games left)
  9. L.A. Lakers (0.386 WIN PCT, 3 games left)
  10. Dallas (0.386 WIN PCT, 3 games left)
  11. L.A. Clippers (0.337 WIN PCT, 3 games left)

Tiebreakers

  • Los Angeles Lakers, Portland wins the tiebreaker
  • Dallas, Portland wins tiebreaker (2-1 season series)
  • Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis won the tiebreaker by sweeping Portland at the Moda Center (2-1 series)
  • Golden State Warriors, Portland wins tiebreaker (2-1 season series)

Chances of Making Playoffs

Possibilities of Each Playoff Opponent

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

  • Los Angeles Clippers: 39.5%
  • Denver Nuggets: 29.7%
  • Phoenix Suns: 18.1%
  • Utah Jazz: 6.9%

Possibilities of Each Playoff Seeding

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

  • 5th Seed: 24.3%
  • 6th Seed: 50.6%
  • 7th Seed: 12.5%
  • 8th Seed: 6.7%
  • Miss Postseason: 5.8%

Possibilities of Each Playoff Matchup with Seeding

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

  • No. 5 Portland vs. No. 4 Denver (19.3%)
  • No. 5 Portland vs. No. 4 L.A. Clippers (4.7%)
  • No. 5 Portland vs. No. 4 Phoenix (0.28%)
  • No. 6 Portland vs. No. 3 Denver (10.3%)
  • No. 6 Portland vs. No. 3 L.A. Clippers (32.8%)
  • No. 6 Portland vs. No. 3 Phoenix (7.5%)
  • No. 7 Portland vs. No. 2 L.A. Clippers (1.99%)
  • No. 7 Portland vs. No. 2 Phoenix (10.14%)
  • No. 7 Portland vs. No. 2 Utah (0.36%)
  • No. 8 Portland vs. No. 1 Utah Jazz (6.5%)
  • No. 8 Portland vs. No. 1 Phoenix  (0.19%)