2021 State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament

Play-In Picture: Blazing a trail to that 3-way tie

The marquee matchups continue to produce compelling consequences for the Play-In Tournament races.

Catch up on all the action from Sunday's games in the NBA.

A game after knocking back the East-leading Nets, the Portland Trail Blazers turned back the Boston Celtics in a well-contested matchup that ended up blending the 5th through 7th seeds in both conferences. CJ McCollum (33 points, 12-20 FGs) and Damian Lillard (26 points, 13 assists) provided the bulk of the scoring, bolstered by deadline acquisition Norman Powell (23 points, 8-15 FGs) and Jusuf Nurkic (14 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists).

Not only did the Celtics lose the game, but their two stars collided in the closing minutes, with Jaylen Brown taking the worse of it, and Jayson Tatum limping off after him into the locker room. And the impacts compounded across the league — with the Mavericks losing to the Kings, the Lakers losing to the Raptors and the Heat beating the Hornets. That elevated Miami into a tie for 5th, dropping Boston back into a Play-In place. And then Dallas, which had slid to seventh, found themselves back where they started in fifth. This time tied with the Lakers and Blazers.

Gonna be a fun run to the finish, kids.

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Eastern Conference

6. Miami Heat (๐Ÿ”ผ)

Miami Heat logoRecord: 35-30
Games Ahead (6th): 1.0
*BOS holds tiebreaker
Games Back (5th): —
*ATL holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 121-111 W @ CHA
Next Opponent: vs. DAL on Tuesday

Charlotte seemed to have an infusion of energy after the returns of LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk from extended injury runs, but the Heat pulled together for a clean victory that elevated them clear of the playoff field. Their next match is likely going to be against a hungry Mavericks team that’s in a similarly convoluted mashup in the Western Conference.


7. Boston Celtics (๐Ÿ”ฝ)

Boston Celtics logo Record: 34-31
Games Ahead (11th): 7.0
Games Back (6th): 1.0

Last Result: 129-119 L vs. POR
Next Opponent: @ ORL on Wednesday


The Celtics challenged the Blazers throughout a tough contest, but couldn’t overcome Portland’s hot 3-point shooting. Now, they need to figure out exactly the impact of that late-game collision between Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, right as the competition is heating up around them.


8. Charlotte Hornets (๐Ÿ”ฝ)

Charlotte Hornets logoRecord: 31-33
Games Ahead (11th): 4.5
Games Back (6th): 3.5

Last Result: 121-111 L vs. MIA
Next Opponent: @ DET on Tuesday


The Heat cooled off Charlotte’s quick rise, but it’s off to Detroit for a rematch of Saturday’s 13-point cruise. A win there should keep them clear of the ninth-place Pacers, and a lot could ride on that one- or two-game Play-In experience.


9. Indiana Pacers (–)

Indiana Pacers logoRecord: 30-33
Games Ahead (11th): 4.0
Games Back (6th): 4.0

Last Result: 152-95 W @ OKC
Next Opponent: @ WAS on Monday


Did not play.


10. Washington Wizards (–)

Washington Wizards logoRecord: 29-35
Games Ahead (11th): 3.5
Games Back (6th): 5.5

Last Result: 125-124 L @ DAL
Next Opponent: IND on Monday

Did not play.


11. Toronto Raptors (๐Ÿ”ผ)

Toronto Raptors logoRecord: 27-38
Games Back (10th): 2.5

Last Result: 121-114 W @ LAL
Next Opponent: @ LAC on Tuesday


After losing four of five, the Raptors traveled to L.A. and beat the Lakers from the opening tip, with Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam combining for 76 points. Now they just have to do it again at Staples Center on Tuesday — but this time against the LA Clippers.


12. Chicago Bulls (๐Ÿ”ฝ)

Chicago Bulls logoRecord: 26-38
Games Back (10th): 3.0

Last Result: 108-97 L @ ATL
Next Opponent: PHI on Monday


Did not play.

Western Conference

5. Dallas Mavericks (–)

Dallas Mavericks logoRecord: 36-28
Games Ahead (6th): —
*Hold tiebreaker vs. LAL, POR

Last Result: 111-99 L vs. SAC
Next Opponent: @ MIA on Tuesday


After Luka Doncic put together a 31-point, 12-rebound, 20-assist masterpiece on Saturday, the Mavericks found themselves on the wrong end of a wire-to-wire whomping by the Kings. They are off Monday before gearing up for an inter-conference matchup with Miami on Tuesday.ย 


6. Los Angeles Lakers (–)

Los Angeles Lakers logoRecord: 36-28
Games Ahead (7th): —
*Holds tiebreaker vs. POR
Games Back (5th): —
*DAL holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 121-114 L vs. TOR
Next Opponent: vs. DEN on Monday

Initially buoyed by the return of LeBron James, the Lakers are now looking at two straight losses with both he and Anthony Davis back starting. And LeBron’s postgame comments about how he needed to “test” his ankle in live action can’t make the stomachs sit easy. There’s not a lot of time to get the championship train back on track.


7. Portland Trail Blazers (–)

Portland Trail Blazers logoRecord: 36-28
Games Ahead (11th): 7.0
Games Back (6th): —
*DAL, LAL hold tiebreakers

Last Result: 129-119 W @ BOS
Next Opponent: @ ATL on Monday

CJ and Dame done did it again. Pouring in 59 points and extending the range of the game beyond an opponent’s grasp, the Blazers launched themselves into a three-way tie with the Mavericks and Lakers, each of whom lost. The pressure will be on Portland to stay afloat after an overnight trip to Atlanta.


8. Memphis Grizzlies (–)

Memphis Grizzlies logoRecord: 32-31
Games Ahead (11th): 3.5
Games Back (6th): 4.0

Last Result: 112-111 L vs. ORL
Next Opponent: NYK on Monday


Did not play.


9. Golden State Warriors (–)

Golden State Warriors logoRecord: 32-32
Games Ahead (11th): 3.0
Games Back (6th): 4.0

Last Result: 113-87 W @ HOU
Next Opponent: @ NOP on Monday


Did not play.


10. San Antonio Spurs (๐Ÿ”ฝ)

San Antionio Spurs logoRecord: 31-32
Games Ahead (11th): 3
Games Back (6th): 4.5

Last Result: 113-111 (OT) L vs. 76ers
Next Opponent: @ UTA on Monday


The Spurs found themselves on the wrong end of an overtime loss for the second time in a week, this time courtesy of Ben Simmons tipping in a Joel Embiid miss at the buzzer. Remember to box out, kids.


11. New Orleans Pelicans (–)

New Orleans Pelicans logoRecord: 29-35
Games Back (10th): 2.5

Last Result: 140-136 (OT) W @ MIN
Next Opponent: GSW on Monday


Did not play.

12. Sacramento Kings (๐Ÿ”ผ)

Sacramento Kings logoRecord: 27-37
Games Back (10th): 4.5

Last Result: 111-99 W @ LAL
Next Opponent: @ OKC on Tuesday


Marvin Bagley III showed up and showed out from the tip, hitting the Mavericks with 23 points (10-16 FGs) and 9 rebounds in a 111-99 victory. The Kings keep hanging around, but time runs short. The streak needs to start soon.