The NBA playoffs are fast approaching and the 8th seed in the West is up for grabs. With less than 20 games remaining in the regular season, five teams are in contention for that 8th seed. The Memphis Grizzlies currently occupy that final spot, but four teams are chasing them. The Grizzles have a four game lead over New Orleans and Sacramento. Portland, San Antonio and Phoenix are not far behind and in striking distance for that final spot. Can the Grizzlies hold those five teams off? Or will one of the other teams make a run and snatch that 8th seed from Memphis?
Memphis currently holds the 8th seed and with less than 20 games remaining, they’re the favorite to hold it. After losing to Orlando at home, they head out for a 3-game road trip. Memphis will play at Portland, Utah and San Antonio. They have a tough remaining schedule which includes games against Milwaukee, Denver, Toronto and Houston to close out their season. At home, they’ll face Toronto, New Orleans, Boston, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Philadelphia. Can Memphis finish the year strong and find a way to make a playoff push? Will the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, Ja Morant lead them to the playoffs?
New Orleans Pelicans
The excitement for the Pelicans has risen ever since Zion Williamson came back from injury. Tonight, they start a critical 3-game road trip that will likely make or break them. They visit Sacramento tonight and both teams will need the win since they’re tied with one another. They visit Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday and Saturday before coming home Monday against Atlanta. When the road trip is over, New Orleans have a favorable schedule. New Orleans face the Grizzlies twice in four nights in a little over a week. From March 29th through April 5th, New Orleans will be on a 4-game road trip in seven days. The three game at home after that will be against Phoenix, Philadelphia and Washington.
Portland picked up a big win against Phoenix last night. The win ended a two game losing streak and with the Grizzlies loss, they’re 3.5 games behind. The Trailblazers are currently tied with New Orleans and Sacramento and a half game in front of the Spurs. Damian Lillard is trying to get back into his groove after returning from injury. Jusuf Nurkic could be returning from his horrific leg injury as early as Sunday to give them a boost. Portland will begin a 4-game homestand starting tomorrow and it’ll last for seven days. They’ll face Memphis, Houston and Dallas doing that homestand and it could be pivotal to their playoff chances. After the homestand, Portland will embark on a 6-game in eight days road trip that’ll make or break their season.
Sacramento have snuck back into playoff contention by winning seven of their last 10 games. The Kings will be at home tonight to face the Pelicans whom they’re tied with. After the game against Dallas next Tuesday, Sacramento will be on the road. The Kings will be on the road for 4 games in five days starting in Houston next Thursday. After the road trip, they’ll be at home for the next six game in 10 days. Sacramento will play the Lakers, Clippers and Pacers doing that homestand. The Kings finish their season at home against the Golden State Warriors. Before that, the Kings face Spurs, Timberwolves, Nuggets and Lakers on the road. Will the Kings find a way to make the playoffs?
San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns
The San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks last night to move within four games of Memphis. The Spurs will remain at home to face Denver, Minnesota and Memphis. Out of their final 19 games, 14 of those are against teams that’s in playoff contention. For me, I’m not believing San Antonio will make it to the playoffs because their schedule is brutal. The Phoenix Suns are six games behind the Grizzlies for the 8th seed. The Suns had their 2-game win streak ended by the Trailblazers last night. With 11 of their final 17 games against playoff contenders, which will hurt the Suns. Just like the Spurs, I’m thinking that Phoenix won’t be making the playoffs again this season.
Who do you have getting that 8th seed in the West? Who do you want taking the 8th seed out West?