The race to the playoffs in the West | The point is one week from the end

week. There is only one week left until the 2020/21 regular season ends. As this deadline approaches, as foreseen and feared, every meeting will have its weight in gold, in the East as in the West. Note that all teams still have to play between 3 and 5 matches, by May 16th.

Specifically in the Western Conference, there are already four officially qualified: Jazz (50-18), Suns (48-20), Clippers (45-23) and Nuggets (44-24). There is even a good chance that this arrangement will not change in the coming days. On the other hand, between the two races for the top six and the race for the top eight, everything still has to be done in the back.

Beneficiaries of the “easy” calendar at the end of the season, the Mavericks (40-28) have been competing for several days and have just won 10 of their last 12 meetings. So they are on their way to holding fifth place until the end. Unless the Blazers (39-29) or the Lakers (38-30), who are respectively one game behind and two behind Dallas, come to dislodge them soon, they are essentially fighting to avoid “playing bluff play.” But it should be remembered that Dallas, as the winner of the Southwest Division, has a “tie breaker” over two of its runners.

Nothing was done either in eighth place. Indeed, the battle between the Warriors (35-33) and the Grizzlies (34-33) is bittersweet, and calendar chance, these two teams will face each other on Sunday, during the last day of the regular season! Barring a big surprise, Tottenham (32-35) should struggle to get back into the top eight, given their challenging schedule. However, San Antonio must be able to resist the return of the Pelicans (31-37) and the Kings (30-38), who still dream of participating in the “play”.

Behind Dallas, who of the Blazers or Lakers would avoid “playing in”?

In terms of the timeline, as mentioned earlier, the Mavericks have the “simplest” of all, they still have to take on Grizzlies, Pelicans, Wolves and Raptors (two at home and two outside). These four teams are within reach of Dallas because three of them have almost nothing to play for and/or have been significantly reduced. Only Memphis, which is battling for the top eight, can play spoiler sport. Unless Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, or Pascal Siakam decide otherwise…

In an ambush to return to fifth place, the Blazers will have to challenge three members of the Top 4 in the West. Two of these matches (Suns and Jazz) will be played abroad, as opposed to the match against the Nuggets, which is scheduled to be held in Oregon. Fortunately, the diminishing rockets will also appear at the Moda Center, starting the following night, to allow Portland to launch their final race perfectly.

As for the Lakers, who should be able to count on a LeBron James return this week, the schedule looks affordable on paper, with the Knicks, then the Rockets, greeted ahead of trips to the Pacers and Pelicans. The flawless player is clearly in the ropes of champions and they will need him, to restore confidence as the playoffs approach and avoid getting into the ‘play’.

A Warriors – The Grizzlies are predicted to be a “finalist” in 8th

Before the long-awaited duel next Sunday, the Warriors and the Grizzlies will have to provide the essentials on their side. The problem is, even if anything was clearly possible with Stephen Curry’s bubbling, the Golden State still had to face the Jazz and the Suns, the two best teams in its conference. Not to mention the Pelicans, who are still in the race to “play in”. However, Dubs can be reassured by saying that they will not have a game to play outside.

As for Memphis, which should play five games in less than a week, the calendar will be a little “easier”, with the Pelicans, Mavericks and Kings (twice) on the programme. And like the Warriors, who will find their game finished on Sunday, the Grizzlies will play their next four home games as a bonus. Before a final trip, planned for Chase Center, to an alluring final for eighth…

As for Spurs, the trajectory of their obstacles continues. Because in addition to playing five times a week, the Texans will cross two favorites (the Bucks, the Nets), the surprise team of the season (the Knicks) and one team. intruder (Twice Suns). And if more than half of those clashes were to happen, of course, indoors, a 5-0 success would be almost a miracle, given San Antonio’s poor patch (six defeats in the last seven games).

But beware that the spurs spoil everything by allowing the Pelicans, or even the Kings, to overtake them in the rankings. Mathematically, they have not been left out of the “play-in” race, both New Orleans and Sacramento have a similar and balanced schedule. One thing is for sure: they will definitely have to sign a clear tour in hopes of dreaming of getting back into the top ten.

How does play work in 2020/21

1 . game : a confrontation between the seventh and eighth. The winner advances to the playoffs in seventh place.
2 . game : a confrontation between the ninth and tenth. The loser is eliminated and the winner challenges the loser in a match between the seventh and eighth.
3 . game : A confrontation between the loser in game 1 and the winner in game 2. The winner qualifies for the playoffs in eighth place.

Finally, if we are to believe the sports projections of US specialist sites ESPN and Basketball-Reference, nothing will change in the Western Conference’s top seven, particularly jazz that finished before the Suns, Clippers and The Nuggets. Four teams will therefore have a home advantage in the first round.

Then, according to ESPN and Basketball-Reference, the Mavericks will rank ahead of the Blazers and Lakers. The Lakers who will therefore have to participate in the “play in”. For ESPN, it will be against the Warriors, while in reference basketball, it will be against the Grizzlies. On the other hand, the two specialist sites agree that Golden State has more chances of making it to the playoffs than Memphis.

However, there is no miracle for the Pelicans and the Kings, who would not be able to dislodge Tottenham from 10th place, and therefore from “playing in”. According to ESPN and Basketball-Reference, San Antonio will complete this quartet of playoffs, along with the Lakers, Warriors and Grizzlies.

Forecasts in the ranking of specialized American sites

ESPN Predictions (Qualifier Odds) B-REF Predictions (Qualifying Chances)
1. Jazz (100%) 1. Jazz (100%)
2- The Sun (100%) 2- The Sun (100%)
3. Clippers (100%) 3. Clippers (100%)
4. Nuggets (100%) 4. Nuggets (100%)
5- Mavericks (100%) 5- Mavericks (99.6%)
6- Blazer (96.5%) 6- Blazer (94.5%)
7. Lakers (93.8%) 7- Lakers (86%)
8- Warriors (74.7%) 8- Grizzlies (46.7%)
9- Grizzlies (23.1%) 9- Warriors (54%)
10. Tottenham (8.1%) 10- Spears (15.4%)
11- Pelicans (3.4%) 11- Pelicans (3.6%)
12- Kings (0.9%) 12- Kings (0.3%)

Team-by-team calendar, from fullest to simplest (according to Tankathon)

Team/Remaining Matches Coming opponents
Tottenham / 5 Bucks, Nets, Knicks, Suns x2
Warriors / 4 Jazz, Suns, Pelicans, Grizzlies
jackets / 4 Rockets, Jazz, Suns, Nuggets
swans / 4 Grizzlies, Mavericks, Warriors, Lakers
Kings/4 Thunder, Grizzlies x2, Jazz
Grizzlies/5 Pelicans, Mavericks, Kings x2, Warriors
Lakers/4 Knicks, Rockets, Pacers, Pelicans
Mavericks/4 Grizzlies, Pelicans, Raptors, Wolves

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