The NBA Race for the 8th Seed is Tightening Up

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 04: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the game winning basket over Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 04, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

After a Portland Trailblazers win Sunday night, four teams in the Western Conference are separated by just 1.5 games in the fight for the 8th seed and a chance to compete in the play-in tournament

With just four more days of seeding-game basketball remaining, the race for the 8th seed in the Western Conference has come down to just four teams, the Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns. Currently, the Grizzlies hold the 8th seed, just half a game ahead of the Trailblazers. 

If the seeding stays the same, we could see a Blazers-Grizzlies matchup in the play-in tournament, where the Grizzlies would have to win just one game while the Blazers would have to win two. Although these two teams hold the 8th and 9th seed, the race is far from over. 

The Grizzlies have struggled in the bubble, winning just one out of six games. A lot of that has to do with the injury to Jaren Jackson Jr. Jaren Jackson Jr had been one of the bright spots for Memphis in the bubble, and losing him to a knee injury was a huge blow for the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have two games left in the schedule. They would need to win just one of their last two games in order to secure a spot in the play-in tournament.

Before the 4 month NBA hiatus, the Blazers struggled during the regular season, mainly due to the injuries the team suffered throughout the year. Now fully healthy, the Blazers look to be a force in the west, and a threat to win the NBA championship.

The Suns continue to surprise the league, staying undefeated in the bubble. Devin Booker has played phenomenal and has kept the Suns in the race for the 8th seed.

The Suns, however, are still on the outside looking in as they are a game behind the 9th seeded Blazers. With three games left in the schedule, the Suns look to stay undefeated and hope to overtake either the Grizzlies or the Blazers for a spot in the play-in tournament.

The Spurs have also inserted themselves into the discussion for the 8th seed. They stand a half a game ahead of the Suns and have played well in the bubble. They are 4-2 in the seeding games and have the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz left in the schedule.

 The Spurs are always in the mix to make the playoffs as long as Gregg Popovich is coaching the team. They haven’t missed the playoffs since 1997, however, this streak of playoff runs may be in jeopardy. It may seem like a long shot, but the Spurs continue to fight to get into the playoffs.

With just a few days left in the NBA regular season, every game will be a playoff game for all four of these teams as they fight for the last spot in the playoffs. Whichever team comes out with the 8th seed will then look forward to playing the number one seed in the west, the Los Angeles Lakers.