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NBA Playoff Picture: Suns blast OKC to remain undefeated in bubble, move to within half-game of No. 9 Blazers

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The Phoenix Suns just will not stop charging for a playoff spot. With a win over OKC on Monday afternoon, the Suns moved to 6-0 in the bubble and are within a half-game of the No. 9 Blazers and one game of the No. 8 Grizzlies. Phoenix will play Philadelphia on Tuesday without Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons, the latter of which is likely out for the season. Another win is right there for the taking. 

Meanwhile, the Blazers have a tough matchup on Tuesday against the Mavs if Dallas decides to play its stars. But that may well not happen. The Mavs are pretty locked into the No. 7 seed without much to gain by risking the health of Luka Doncic and/or Kristaps Porzingis. 

Reminder: At the conclusion of each team’s eight seeding games, the top seven seeds in each conference will be locked. At that point, if the No. 9 seed is within four games of the No. 8 seed, those two will decide the final spot via a play-in series, with the lower seed having to beat the higher seed twice, but the higher seed only needing to win once. 

Below is a look at where the playoff picture stands, from seeds to current matchups. 

*This article will update at the conclusion of each night until the seeding games conclude.

Western Conference

Team/Seed Record Current Matchup

1. Lakers

51-18 (–)

vs. Grizzlies/Blazers

2. Clippers

47-23 (4.5 GB)

vs. Mavericks

3. Nuggets

46-24 (6 GB)

vs. Jazz

4. Rockets

44-25 (7 GB)

vs. Thunder

5. Thunder

43-27 (8.5 GB)

vs. Rockets

6. Jazz

43-28 (9 GB)

vs. Nuggets

7. Mavericks

43-30 (10 GB)

vs. Clippers

8. Grizzlies

33-38 (19 GB)

vs. Blazers (Play-in)

No changes in the Western Conference standings on Monday, and the Jazz appear to like it that way. By losing to Dallas and staying in the No. 6 seed, they continue to avoid Houston in the first round. Denver won’t be a cakewalk, but it appears to be the preferred first-round matchup. Problem is, the Jazz could still technically fall to No 7, where they would get the Clippers in the first round. 

Race for No. 8

Team Record Games Behind No. 8 Seed

9. Trail Blazers

33-39

.5 GB

10. Suns

32-39

1 GB

11. Spurs

31-38

1 GB

The Blazers continue to have the inside track on a play-in series with Memphis because they will have the tiebreaker based on winning percentage over both San Antonio and Phoenix, but the Suns, now 6-0 in the bubble, are coming hot. Here are the remaining games for all the teams fighting for the No. 8 seed.

  • Grizzlies: vs. Celtics, Bucks
  • Blazers: vs. Mavericks, Nets
  • Suns: vs. 76ers, Mavericks
  • Spurs: vs. Rockets, Jazz

Eastern Conference

Team/Seed Record Current Matchup

1. Bucks

55-15 (–)

vs. Magic

2. Raptors

50-19 (4.5 GB)

vs. Nets

3. Celtics

47-23 (8 GB)

vs. 76ers

4. Heat

43-27 (12 GB)

vs. Pacers

5. Pacers

43-27 (12 GB)

vs. Heat

6. 76ers

42-28 (13 GB)

vs. Celtics

7. Nets

34-36 (21 GB)

vs. Raptors

8. Magic

32-39 (23.5 GB)

vs. Bucks

No change in the Eastern Conference standings on Sunday. 

There is no race for the No. 8 seed in the East. The Wizards have been mathematically eliminated. 

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