2021 State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament

Play-In Picture: Blazers jump Lakers, take control of 6th seed

The Blazers now hold a one-game lead over the Lakers and the head-to-head tiebreaker with a only week left in the regular season.

NBA.com Staff

State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament, through May 7.

The Trail Blazers couldn’t have picked a better time to welcome fans back to the Moda Center than a Friday matchup against the arch rival Lakers in a game with pole position for the sixth and final fixed playoff position in the Western Conference at stake.

It was probably more nerve-racking than they would have liked, with the Lakers making repeated runs behind a rare dominant performance from the oft-injured Anthony Davis (36 points, 12 rebounds). But with Damian Lillard pouring in 38 points and CJ McCollum adding 21, the Blazers held firm to earn perhaps their biggest win of the season, and certainly the biggest on a busy 10-game night loaded with playoff implications.

If the State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament started today:

Eastern Conference

  • East 7 (Celtics) vs. East 8 (Hornets) | Winner gets No. 7 overall seed
  • East 9 (Pacers) vs. East 10 (Wizards) | Loser is eliminated
  • Loser 7/8 vs. Winner 9/10 | Winner gets No. 8 overall seed

Western Conference

  • West 7 (Lakers) vs. West 8 (Warriors) | Winner gets No. 7 overall seed
  • West 9 (Grizzlies) vs. West 10 (Spurs) | Loser is eliminated
  • Loser 7/8 vs. Winner 9/10 | Winner gets No. 8 overall seed

Playoff picture | Current standings | Play-In Tournament FAQ | NBA playoff history


EASTERN CONFERENCE

5. Atlanta Hawks (–)

Atlanta Hawks LogoRecord: 37-31
Games Ahead (7th): 1.5
*Holds tiebreaker vs. BOS, MIA
Games Back (5th): —

Last Result: 133-126 L @ IND
Next Opponent: vs. WAS on Monday

The Hawks stayed put as their three-day weekend tipped off, but that doesn’t mean their night was uneventful. With New York’s loss to Phoenix and Miami’s victory over Minnesota, they now find themselves separated by half a game for both fourth and sixth place. They no doubt kept the closest eye on Boston’s hammering by Chicago, which expanded their Play-In cushion to 1.5 games.

 

6. Miami Heat (🔼)

Miami Heat logoRecord: 36-31
Games Ahead (7th): 1.0
Games Back (5th): 0.5
*BOS holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 121-112 W vs. MIN
Next Opponent: @ BOS on Sunday

Having made short work of visiting Minnesota behind Jimmy Butler’s 25 points — which he was sure to tell his old team all about as they piled up — the Heat can move on to the most important games of their season, a consecutive set at Boston that will likely determine which of the two teams secures a fixed playoff spot and which has to battle for their lives in the Play-In.

 


 

7. Boston Celtics (🔽)

Boston Celtics logo Record: 35-32
Games Ahead (11th): 7.0
Games Back (6th): 1.0
* Holds tiebreaker vs. MIA

Last Result: 121-99 L @ CHI
Next Opponent: MIA on Sunday

The schedule provides an immediate opportunity for atonement with consecutive games against Miami that will likely determine the East’s sixth seed and the secure postseason place that comes with it. In the meantime, the Celtics will lick their wounds following a lopsided loss to Chicago in which star Jayson Tatum shot just 3 for 15 and they bricked 28 of 39 3-pointers as a team.

 

8. Charlotte Hornets (–)

Charlotte Hornets logoRecord: 33-34
Games Ahead (11th): 5.0
Games Back (6th): 3.0

Last Result: 122-112 W vs. ORL
Next Opponent: vs. NOP on Sunday

 

Friday’s victory over Orlando marked just the sixth in the past 16 games for the Hornets. But it at least helped them cement their spot in the midst of the Play-In race, where they sit 1.5 games ahead of Indiana in eighth and a full five over Chicago for the last spot. Terry Rozier led the way with 28 points, and LaMelo Ball added 27.

 

9. Indiana Pacers (–)

Indiana Pacers logoRecord: 31-35
Games Ahead (11th): 3.5
Games Back (6th): 4.5

Last Result: 133-126 W vs. ATL
Next Opponent: vs. WAS on Saturday

 

Not a great night for the Pacers, who saw three of the four teams within their immediate range who played on Friday emerge victorious. That means their long shot of squeezing into the sixth spot got even longer, and saw them fall 1.5 games behind Charlotte in the race for eighth.

 

10. Washington Wizards (–)

Washington Wizards logoRecord: 31-36
Games Ahead (11th): 3.0
Games Back (6th): 5.0

Last Result: 131-129 W @ TOR
Next Opponent: @ IND on Saturday

 

See Indiana. Only Boston’s loss to Chicago “helped,” and even that’s a stretch given that the Celtics are still four games ahead in the Play-In bracket.

 


 

11. Chicago Bulls ()

Chicago Bulls logoRecord: 28-39
Games Back (10th): 3.0

Last Result: 121-99 W BOS
Next Opponent: @ DET on Sunday

 

 

It’s going to take a minor miracle for the Bulls, with just six games left to make up a three-game deficit in the standings, to reach the Play-In Tournament. But they at least continue to do their part, following up Thursday’s rout of Charlotte with a 22-point thrashing of Boston behind Nikola Vucevic’s triple-double.

 

11. Toronto Raptors ()

Toronto Raptors logoRecord: 27-40
Games Back (10th): 4.0

Last Result: 131-129 L vs. WAS
Next Opponent: vs. MEM on Saturday

 

 

On the bright side, Toronto didn’t lose any ground on Washington as both had Friday off. Otherwise it’s still Mission Nearly Impossible for the Raptors to reach the Play-In.

 


WESTERN CONFERENCE

5. Dallas Mavericks (–)

Dallas Mavericks logoRecord: 39-28
Games Ahead (7th): 1.5
*Holds tiebreaker vs. LAL
Games Back (5th): —
*Holds tiebreaker vs. POR

Last Result: 110-90 W vs. CLE
Next Opponent: @ CLE on Sunday

The Mavericks secured their first division title in 10 years with Friday’s rout of the visiting Cavaliers. More importantly, they extended their recent run to six victories in seven games as they continue to tighten their grip on the West’s fifth spot. An added bonus: They expended minimal effort to do it, with Luka Doncic needed for just 23 minutes as the Mavericks took the lead for good in the opening minutes and never looked back.

 

6. Portland Trail Blazers (🔼)

Portland Trail Blazers logoRecord: 38-29
Games Ahead (7th): 1.0
*Holds tiebreaker vs. LAL
Games Back (5th): 1.0
*POR holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 106-101 vs. LAL
Next Opponent: vs. SAS on Saturday

There could be worse ways to spend a Friday night than beating a bitter rival to leapfrog them in the standings and increase your chances of earning a secure playoff spot. The Blazers still have lots of work to do, but their sixth win in seven games — sparked by Damian Lillard’s 38 points — gives them a distinct edge over the Lakers with both a one-game advantage in the standings and the head-to-head tiebreaker.

 


 

7. Los Angeles Lakers (🔽)

Los Angeles Lakers logoRecord: 37-30
Games Ahead (11th): 7.0
Games Back (6th): 1.0
*POR holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 106-101 L @ POR
Next Opponent: vs. PHO on Sunday

The Lakers finally got a real Anthony Davis performance from their star big man with 36 points and 12 rebounds against the Blazers. And it still wasn’t enough to stave off their extended swoon, with their 17th loss in 26 games dropping them effectively two games behind Portland thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker with just five games to play and LeBron James still on the mend.

 

8. Golden State Warriors ()

Golden State Warriors logoRecord: 34-33
Games Ahead (11th): 4.0
Games Back (6th): 4.0

Last Result: 118-97 W vs. OKC
Next Opponent: vs. OKC on Saturday

 

The Warriors are comfortably (if that’s the right word) ensconced in the Play-In Tournament, with little chance of moving up to sixth or dropping to 11th. The rest of their season will be spent keeping an eagle eye on Memphis and San Antonio as they jockey for position.

 

9. Memphis Grizzlies ()

Memphis Grizzlies logoRecord: 33-33
Games Ahead (11th): 3.5
Games Back (6th): 4.5

Last Result: 111-97 L @ DET
Next Opponent: @ TOR on Saturday

 

It’s not a bad night when you don’t even play and your cushion grows in the standings. Such was the case for the Grizzlies, who saw their lead over 11th-place New Orleans expand by half a game thanks to their Southern rival’s close loss to Philadelphia.

 

10. San Antonio Spurs (–)

San Antionio Spurs logoRecord: 32-34
Games Ahead (11th): 2.5
Games Back (6th): 5.5

Last Result: 113-104 W @ SAC
Next Opponent: @ POR on Saturday

 

The Spurs got the game they absolutely had to have, staving off a late run from Sacramento to snap their five-game skid. Now comes the brutally hard part, a stretch of six games in nine days to close the regular season featuring nothing but playoff teams, including a pair of matchups with resurgent Phoenix. Good luck!

 


 

11. New Orleans Pelicans (–)

New Orleans Pelicans logoRecord: 30-37
Games Back (10th): 2.5

Last Result: 109-107 L @ PHI
Next Opponent: @ CHA on Sunday

 


Friday couldn’t have gone much worse for the shorthanded Pelicans, who followed up news of Zion Williamson’s fractured finger with a valiant but ultimately fruitless performance at Philadelphia. The defeat kicked off a five-game road trip for New Orleans, all against teams battling for playoff position.

 

12. Sacramento Kings (–)

Sacramento Kings logoRecord: 29-38
Games Back (10th): 3.5

Last Result: 113-104 L vs. SAS
Next Opponent: vs. OKC on Sunday

 

 

The Kings really, really could have used a victory against San Antonio. Unfortunately for them, a late rally came up painfully short, bringing an end to their four-game win streak and dropping them 3.5 games behind the Spurs with just five to play. “That was a big one,” Kings coach Luke Walton said in a huge understatement.

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