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NBA Western Conference Playoffs Viewer Guide: May 12

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers takes a shot against Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz in the fourth quarter during their game at Moda Center on February 01, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There are five 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 almost set, even if their seeding is not.

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 five remaining nights.

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

Current Standings:

  1. x – Utah Jazz: 50-19
  2. x – Phoenix Suns: 48-21 – 2 games back
  3. x – Los Angeles Clippers: 46-23 – 4 games back
  4. x – Denver Nuggets: 45-24 – 5 games back
  5. y – Portland Trail Blazers: 40-29 – 10 games back
  6. y – Dallas Mavericks: 40-29 – 10 games back
  7. y – Los Angeles Lakers: 39-30 – 11 games back
  8. y – Golden State Warriors: 37-33 – 13.5 games back
  9. y – Memphis Grizzlies: 36-33 – 14 game back
  10. San Antonio Spurs: 33-35 – 16.5 games back
  11. New Orleans Pelicans: 31-38 – 19.0 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: 104 @ Memphis Grizzlies: 133

With the loss, the Dallas Mavericks fall into a tie in the standings with Portland and drop to the sixth seed by way of losing the tiebreaker two games to one. The Mavericks can no longer climb higher than the fifth seed in the final standings.

With the Memphis Grizzlies win, they kept within a half-game of the Golden State Warriors with three games left to play.

Phoenix Suns: 116 @ Golden State Warriors: 122

With the loss, the Phoenix Suns move two games back of the Jazz and Utah’s magic number dropped to two (any combination of two Suns losses or Jazz wins) before they would clinch the top seed in the West with just three games left to play.

With the win, the Warriors maintain a half-game lead over the Grizzlies.

This game was a potential first-round NBA Playoffs preview.

New York Knicks: 99 @ Los Angeles Lakers: 101

With the win, the Los Angeles Lakers moved within a game of the Trail Blazers and Mavericks for the fifth seed in the West with three games left to play.

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

Denver Nuggets: 117 @ Charlotte Hornets: 112

With the win, the Denver Nuggets stay within one game of the Los Angeles Clippers for the third seed in the West.

Tonight’s Games: 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.

The Jazz can cut their magic number to one to clinch the top spot in the West with a win.

With a loss, the Jazz lead over the Suns for the number one seed in the Western Conference would drop to 1.5 games.

With a Trail Blazers win, Portland would hold onto the fifth seed in the West regardless of the outcome between the Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans, and the Lakers and Houston Rockets.

With a win, teamed with a Lakers loss, Portland would guarantee itself that it could not be overtaken by the Lakers in the final standings.

With a loss teamed with a Mavericks win, the Trail Blazers could fall back to the sixth seed and would trail Dallas by one full game with two games left to play.

With a loss teamed with a Lakers win, Portland would fall into a tie with Los Angeles but own the season tiebreaker.

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

San Antonio Spurs: @ Brooklyn Nets:

With a win, the San Antonio Spurs would guarantee themselves a spot in the play-in tournament while the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings would be eliminated from postseason play.

New Orleans Pelicans: @ Dallas Mavericks:

With a win, teamed with a Trail Blazers loss, the Mavericks could climb into the fifth seed with a full game lead over Portland with just two games left to play.

With a win, teamed with a Trail Blazers win, the Mavericks would remain in the sixth seed by way of the season tiebreaker.

With a win, teamed with a Lakers loss, Dallas would guarantee itself that it could not be overtaken by the Lakers in the final standings.

With a loss, teamed with a Lakers win, the Mavericks would fall into a tie with the Lakers for the sixth seed, but own the tiebreaker over Los Angeles for the season.

With a Pelicans loss, they would be eliminated from postseason play.

Houston Rockets: @ Los Angeles Lakers:

With a win, the Lakers guarantee themselves they would fall no further than one game behind the Trail Blazers and Mavericks for the fifth and sixth seeds in the West.

With a win, teamed with a loss by either the Trail Blazers or Mavericks, the Lakers would climb into a tie with those teams, but would remain in the seventh seed by way of the season tiebreakers.

With a loss, the Lakers could no longer overtake the Trail Blazers or Mavericks if they were to win their matchups Wednesday night.

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.

Los Angeles Clippers: @ Charlotte Hornets: 

The Clippers can take a 1.5 game lead over the Nuggets with a win over the Charlotte Hornets.

With a loss, the Clippers lead over Denver would fall to just a half-game with two games left to play.

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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