UTAH JAZZ

NBA Western Conference Playoffs Viewer Guide

May 4, 2021, 3:58 PM | Updated: May 5, 2021, 12:16 pm
NBA Playoffs Logo...
The NBA Playoff logo seat covering, on the Utah Jazz team's chairs, before their game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 8, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There are 11 days left in the NBA regular season, and with the postseason fast approaching, every game has the potential to change the final seeding for the playoffs in the Western Conference.

With just a handful of games left for each roster, the top-10 teams in the West are likely set, even if their seeding is not.

New Orleans has a slim chance of overtaking San Antonio for the final spot in the play-in tournament but trails the Spurs by two games with just six games left to play.

With that in mind, and the understanding that each game will impact among these teams will affect the final standings, let’s look at the most important games left on the NBA’s regular-season schedule each of the 11 remaining nights.

(This list will be updated as games gain and lose importance to close the season)

Current Standings:

  1. x – Phoenix Suns: 47-18
  2. x – Utah Jazz: 47-18 – Trail Suns via tiebreaker
  3. x – Los Angeles Clippers: 44-22 – 3.5 games back
  4. x – Denver Nuggets: 43-22 – 4 games back
  5. y – Dallas Mavericks: 37-28 – 10 games back
  6. y – Los Angeles Lakers: 37-28 – 10 game back
  7. y – Portland Trail Blazers: 36-29 – 11 games back
  8. Golden State Warriors: 33-33 – 14.5 games back
  9. Memphis Grizzlies: 32-32 – 14.5 game back
  10. San Antonio Spurs: 31-33 – 15.5 games back

x – Team has clinched an automatic playoff birth.

y – Team has clinched a spot in the West’s top ten.

Yesterday’s Games

Dallas Mavericks @ Miami Heat: 

With a win over the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks guaranteed themselves a top ten finish in the West, and at worst a spot in the play-in tournament.

Dallas also overtook the Los Angeles Lakers for the fifth seed in the West.

Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans:

With the loss, the Golden State Warriors magic number to clinch a spot in the top 10 at season’s end remains at two.

Additionally, the Pelicans have now split the season series with the Warriors 1-1 and the tiebreaker will be determined on May 14 at Golden State.

By beating the Warriors, the Pelicans pulled to within two games of the Spurs for the final spot in the play-in tournament.

Though they beat the Warriors, the Pelicans can no longer catch the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Standings, guaranteeing Portland a spot in the West’s top 10, and a spot in the play-in tournament regardless of how they close the season.

This was the Warriors’ final road game of the season, they now return home to play their final six games.

Toronto Raptors @ Los Angeles Clippers:

With a win, the Los Angeles Clippers own a six-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers with six games left to play, while also owning the tiebreaker. That means the Lakers can no longer overtake the Clippers in the Western Conference standings.

The Clippers also leaped the Denver Nuggets for the third seed in the West by a half-game.

Tonight’s Games

Phoenix Suns @ Atlanta Hawks:

The Suns begin a stretch of seven consecutive games against teams likely to finish in the playoffs or play-in tournament to end their season when they face the Atlanta Hawks.

New York Knicks @ Denver Nuggets:

The Denver Nuggets can only afford to lose one more game before they’d be eliminated from contention for the top seed in the West.

San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz:

The Utah Jazz magic number to clinch a top-three seed is three, which they could cut into with a win over San Antonio.

The Spurs meanwhile can only afford to lose one more game before they’d be eliminated from being able to climb into the 5-7th seeds in the West. The game is also a potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

May 6

Brooklyn Nets @ Dallas Mavericks:

The Mavericks can’t afford to lose another game before they’d be eliminated from climbing into the third seed, and can only lose one more game before losing access to the fourth seed.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers:

With a loss, the Lakers would no longer be eligible to finish higher than the fourth seed in the West. The game is also a potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

May 7

Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz:

If the Nuggets were to beat the New York Knicks on May 5, they could clinch a top-four seed in the West by beating the Jazz.

Conversely, if the Jazz were to beat the Spurs on May 7, they could cut their magic number to clinch a top-three seed to two with a win over Denver.

The winner of this game will determine who owns the tie-breaker in the season series.

San Antonio Spurs @ Sacramento Kings:

This is the Spurs last game of the season against a team that won’t play in either the playoffs or play-in tournament.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Portland Trail Blazers:

If the Lakers lose to the Clippers on May 6, they’d lose any opportunity to own home-court advantage in the first round with a loss to the Trail Blazers.

May 8

Brooklyn Nets @ Denver Nuggets:

The Nuggets will play their final home game of the season against Brooklyn, but will also conclude their toughest stretch to close the season after facing the Knicks, Nets, and Jazz over a four-day stretch.

Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz:

The Jazz could clinch a top-three seed in this game if they beat the Spurs and Nuggets on May 5 and May 7.

San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers:

With a win, the Trail Blazers could prevent Spurs from overtaking them in the final seeding. The winner will also own the tie-breaker in the season series.

May 9

New York Knicks @ Los Angeles Clippers:

This is the Clippers final home game of the regular season before finishing the year with four consecutive road games.

Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Lakers:

The Suns can sweep the season series with a win over the Lakers.

May 10

Utah Jazz @ Golden State Warriors:

This is the Jazz final road game against a playoff or play-in tournament team and a potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

Houston Rockets @ Portland Trail Blazers:

This is the Trail Blazers final game of the season against a non-top-four seed in the West before concluding the season on the road against the Jazz and Suns before returning home to face the Nuggets.

May 11

Dallas Mavericks @ Memphis Grizzlies:

The Mavericks would prevent the Grizzlies from being able to overtake them in the final standings with a win.

Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors:

A potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview. The Suns would sweep the season series with a win.

New York Knicks @ Los Angeles Lakers:

This is the Lakers final game of the regular season against a team with a winning record.

May 12

Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz:

This is the Jazz final home game of the season and their final matchup against a team that will be playing in the playoffs or play-in tournament.

This game is also a potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

May 13

Portland Trail Blazers @ Phoenix Suns:

This is the Suns final home game of the regular season. This game is also a potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

May 14

Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies: 

This is the Grizzlies final home game of the regular season.

Toronto Raptors @ Dallas Mavericks:

This is the Mavericks final home game of the regular season.

May 15

Phoenix Suns @ San Antonio Spurs:

This is the first game of a two-game series between the Suns and Spurs to close the season and a potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

May 16: Final Day Of The Regular Season

Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors:

A potential matchup of two play-in tournament teams.

Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers:

A potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

Phoenix Suns @ San Antonio Spurs:

The second game of a two-game series between the Suns and Spurs and a potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

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