2021 State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament

Play-In Picture: Heat push Celtics to brink of Play-In Tournament

Jimmy Butler and the Heat put a major dent in the Celtics' hopes for an outright playoff spot, setting up another key Miami-Boston showdown.

From NBA.com Staff


State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament status as of May 10.

Down 26 points at halftime, the Celtics fought back but ultimately lost a pivotal showdown with the Heat, who now own a two-game lead over Boston for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

While the Celtics’ hopes for an outright playoff berth are certainly dimming, they do get to play the Heat again Tuesday night (7:30 ET, TNT) with the head-to-head tiebreaker at stake. A win would keep Boston alive for the No. 6 seed, but a loss all but guarantees an appearance in the State Farm Play-In Tournament.

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Kings and Pelicans kept their slim playoff hopes alive and Anthony Davis had his best game of the season to keep the Lakers in the hunt for the No. 6 seed.

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 (Wizards) vs. East 10 (Pacers) | 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


5. Atlanta Hawks (–)

Atlanta Hawks LogoRecord: 37-31
Games Ahead (7th): 2.0
*Holds tiebreaker vs. BOS, MIA
Games Back (5th): —

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

With four games remaining — all against sub-.500 teams — the Hawks can potentially snag the No. 4 seed or possibly land in the Play-In pool. The Wizards visit Atlanta on Monday (7:30 ET, NBA TV) with Russell Westbrook looking to break Oscar Robertson’s all-time triple-double record.


6. Miami Heat (–)

Miami Heat logoRecord: 37-31
Games Ahead (7th): 2.0
Games Back (5th): 0

Last Result: 130-124 W vs. BOS
Next Opponent: vs. BOS on Tuesday

The Heat held off Celtics in the first of two consecutive showdowns and increased their lead over Boston to 2 games. Miami now has the same record as Atlanta, but the Hawks own the head-to-head tiebreaker. With Charlotte’s loss Sunday night, the Heat are assured of a top-six seed if they care of business in Boston.



7. Boston Celtics (–)

Boston Celtics logo Record: 35-33
Games Ahead (11th): 6.0
Games Back (6th): 2.0

Last Result: 130-124 vs. MIA
Next Opponent: MIA on Tuesday


The Celtics’ hopes for an outright playoff spot took a big hit Sunday afternoon with a loss to the Heat. But they meet again Tuesday with the head-to-head tiebreaker at stake. A win would keep them alive for the No. 6 seed, while a loss all but guarantees an appearance in the Play-In tournament.


8. Charlotte Hornets (–)

Charlotte Hornets logoRecord: 33-35
Games Ahead (11th): 4.0
Games Back (6th): 4.0

Last Result: 112-110 L vs. NO
Next Opponent: vs. DEN on Tuesday


Despite 43 points from Terry Rozier, the Hornets lost a winnable home game Sunday vs. the depleted Pelicans. Charlotte closes its regular season with four tough matchups: vs. Denver, vs. LA Clippers, at New York and at Washington, which could decide the No. 8 seed.


9. Washington Wizards (–)

Washington Wizards logoRecord: 32-36
Games Ahead (11th): 3.5
Games Back (6th): 4.5

Last Result: 133-132 W (OT) @ IND
Next Opponent: @ ATL on Monday


The Wizards look to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings after key a win over the Pacers on Saturday night. Washington heads to Atlanta on Monday (7:30 ET, NBA TV) for a two-game set with Westbrook seeking the NBA’s all-time triple-double record.


10. Indiana Pacers (–)

Indiana Pacers logoRecord: 31-36
Games Ahead (11th): 3.0
Games Back (6th): 5.0

Last Result: 133-132 L (OT) vs. WAS
Next Opponent: @ CLE on Monday


The Pacers appear destined for the 8-9 Play-In game — as long as they don’t go into a freefall. Here’s how it shapes up: After Monday’s game at Cleveland (7:30 ET, NBA League Pass), Indiana ends with home games against teams they have not been able to solve this season in Philadelphia (0-2), Milwaukee (0-2) and the L.A. Lakers (0-1). Their finale is vs. Toronto in Tampa (1-1).



11. Chicago Bulls ()

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

Last Result: 121-99 W vs. BOS
Next Opponent: vs. BKN on Tuesday

The Bulls kept their Play-In chances alive with win over Pistons on Sunday night, pulling within 2 1/2 games of the Pacers. At this point, Chicago essentially needs to win out and hope Indiana’s struggles continue.



5. Dallas Mavericks (–)

Dallas Mavericks logoRecord: 40-28
Games Ahead (7th): 2.0
*Holds tiebreaker vs. LAL
Games Back (5th): —
*Holds tiebreaker vs. POR

Last Result: 124-97 W @. CLE
Next Opponent: @ MEM on Tuesday

The Mavs overcame Luka Doncic’s ejection early in the second half to beat the Cavs on Sunday night and extended their lead to one game over the Blazers in the battle for fifth place in the West. Dallas needs any combination of wins or Lakers losses adding up to 3 to avoid the Play-In Tournament.


6. Portland Trail Blazers (–)

Portland Trail Blazers logoRecord: 39-29
Games Ahead (7th): 1.0
*Holds tiebreaker vs. LAL
Games Back (5th): 1.0
*POR holds tiebreaker vs. DAL

Last Result: 124-102 W vs. SAS
Next Opponent: vs. HOU on Monday

Having secured the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lakers, the Blazers are likely to end up with the No. 5 or 6 seed. Portland sits one game behind Dallas with four games remaining: vs. Houston, at Utah, at Phoenix and vs. Denver. The Blazers also own the tiebreaker over the Mavs.



7. Los Angeles Lakers (–)

Los Angeles Lakers logoRecord: 38-30
Games Ahead (11th): 7.0
Games Back (6th): 1.0
*POR holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 123-110 W vs. PHX
Next Opponent: vs. NYK on Tuesday

Anthony Davis erupted for 42 points Sunday night in the Lakers’ wire-to-wire victory over the Suns to keep them in the hunt for an outright playoff spot. Los Angeles trails Portland by one game, although the Blazers own the head-to-head tiebreaker.


8. Golden State Warriors ()

Golden State Warriors logoRecord: 35-33
Games Ahead (11th): 4.5
Games Back (6th): 4.0

Last Result: 136-97 W vs. OKC
Next Opponent: vs. UTA on Monday


All four of the Warriors’ remaining games are at home against Western Conference teams with something to play for: Utah, Phoenix, New Orleans and Memphis. Golden State remains just a 1/2 game ahead of the Grizzlies for eighth, which could make the season finale intriguing.


9. Memphis Grizzlies ()

Memphis Grizzlies logoRecord: 34-33
Games Ahead (11th): 4.0
Games Back (6th): 4.5

Last Result: 109-99 W @ TOR
Next Opponent: vs. NOP on Monday


The Grizzlies have a two-game lead over the Spurs with five game remaining and can clinch a spot in the Play-In Tournament as soon as Monday with a win in New Orleans.


10. San Antonio Spurs (–)

San Antionio Spurs logoRecord: 32-35
Games Ahead (11th): 1.5
Games Back (6th): 6.5

Last Result: 124-102 L @ POR
Next Opponent: vs. MIL on Monday


The Spurs will most likely limp into the Play-In — if they get in at all. Losers in six of its last seven, San Antonio’s lead over New Orleans for the No. 10 seed is just 1 1/2 games. The Spurs host the Bucks to open the final week of their regular season.



11. New Orleans Pelicans (–)

New Orleans Pelicans logoRecord: 31-37
Games Back (10th): 1.5

Last Result: 112-110 W @ CHA
Next Opponent: @ MEM on Monday


New Orleans kept its postseason hopes alive with a come-from-behind victory over Charlotte on Sunday night. With four wins in six game, New Orleans pulled within 1 1/2 games of San Antonio for the West’s final Play-In spot.


12. Sacramento Kings (–)

Sacramento Kings logoRecord: 30-38
Games Back (10th): 2.5

Last Result: 126-98 W vs. OKC
Next Opponent: vs. OKC on Tuesday


Ending the NBA’s longest playoff drought –14 years — seems like a longshot for the Kings, who beat the Thunder on Sunday night and moved within 2 1/2 games of San Antonio. They get another date with OKC on Tuesday, play two road games in Memphis and finish the season hosting Utah.


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