UTAH JAZZ

NBA Western Conference Playoffs Viewer Guide: May 15

May 15, 2021, 11:36 AM
DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs and DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Pe...
DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs and DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There are two 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 few of games left for each roster, the top-10 teams in the West are 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 two remaining nights.

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

Current Standings:

  1. x – Utah Jazz: 51-20
  2. x – Phoenix Suns: 49-21 – 1.5 games back
  3. x – Denver Nuggets: 47-24 – 4 games back
  4. x – Los Angeles Clippers: 47-24 – 4 games back
  5. x – Dallas Mavericks: 42-29 – 9 games back
  6. y – Portland Trail Blazers: 41-30 – 10 games back
  7. y – Los Angeles Lakers: 40-30 – 10.5 games back
  8. xy – Golden State Warriors: 38-33 – 13 games back
  9. xy – Memphis Grizzlies: 38-33 – 13 game back
  10. xyz – San Antonio Spurs: 33-37 – 17.5 games back

x – Team has clinched an automatic playoff birth.

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

xy – Team has clinched a spot in the play-in tournament.

xyz – Team is locked into seed.

Yesterday’s Games

Utah Jazz: 109 @ Oklahoma City Thunder: 93

With the win, the Utah Jazz maintain control of their own destiny for the top seed in the West and would earn home-court advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

The Jazz magic number (any win or Phoenix Suns loss) sits at one.

Denver Nuggets: 104 @ Detroit Pistons: 91 

With the Denver Nuggets win, teamed with the Los Angeles Clippers’ loss to the Houston Rockets, Denver has passed Los Angeles for the third seed in the West with one game remaining.

Denver owns the season tiebreaker against LA, and can guarantee themselves the third seed in the West with a win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

Los Angeles Clippers: 115 @ Houston Rockets:  122

With the Clippers’ loss, teamed with the Nuggets win, LA slips behind the Nuggets into the fourth seed by way of the tie-breaker with one game left to play.

With the loss, the Clippers have guaranteed themselves that they will not face the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening round of the playoffs.

Toronto Raptors: 110 @ Dallas Mavericks: 114

With the win, the Mavericks take a one-game lead over the Trail Blazers for the fifth seed with one game left to play and have guaranteed themselves a spot in the top six of the Western Conference playoffs, thus avoiding any possibility of ending up in the play-in tournament.

The Mavericks win also eliminated the Lakers from being able to overtake them in the standings by way of winning the season tie-breaker two games to one.

This was the Mavericks’ final home game of the regular season.

Tonight’s Games: May 15

Phoenix Suns @ San Antonio Spurs:

With a win, the Suns remain in the hunt for the top seed in the Western Conference.

With a loss, the Jazz would win the West outright.

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

Los Angeles Lakers: @ Indiana Pacers:

With a win, the Lakers would remain within a half-game of the Trail Blazers for the sixth seed in the West and could overtake Portland in the final standings with a win on Sunday over the New Orleans Pelicans, and a Trail Blazers loss to the Nuggets.

May 16: Final Day Of The Regular Season

Utah Jazz: @ Sacramento Kings:

With a win, the Jazz would clinch the best record in the Western Conference and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Phoenix Suns @ San Antonio Spurs:

With a Suns win, teamed with a win on Saturday, the Suns would force the Jazz into a must-win over the Kings on Sunday night to earn the top seed in the West.

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

Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers:

With a Nuggets win, they would guarantee themselves the third seed in the Western Conference regardless of the outcome between the Clippers and the Thunder.

With a Denver loss, teamed with a Clippers win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Nuggets would fall back to the fourth seed in the West.

With a Portland loss, teamed with a Lakers win on Saturday over the Indiana Pacers, and a Lakers win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, the Trail Blazers would fall to the seventh seed and into the top seed in the play-in tournament.

With a Portland win, they would guarantee themselves a spot in the top six of the Western Conference and avoid the play-in tournament.

With a Nuggets win, teamed with Lakers wins on Saturday and Sunday, the Nuggets would face the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

This game is a potential first-round playoff preview.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors:

This game will determine the eighth and ninth seeds in the play-in tournament.

Dallas Mavericks: @ Minnesota Timberwolves: 

With a win, the Mavericks would guarantee themselves the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

With a loss, teamed with a Trail Blazers win, Dallas would slip to the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Clippers: @ Oklahoma City Thunder:

With a Clippers win, teamed with a Nuggets loss, the Clippers would climb into the third seed in the final standings.

With a loss, the Clippers would guarantee themselves the fourth seed in the West.

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NBA Western Conference Playoffs Viewer Guide: May 15