The Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers disrupted things Wednesday in a game that helped place the remaining seeds in the East. The victory of the Pacific closed them in No.4-No. 5 games with the Miami Heat, with Friday’s meeting between the two to decide the final finish. The Philadelphia 76ers closed in No. 6 with Indiana victory. With this, all four matches of the first round of the Eastern Conference are decided.
The picture of the play-off in the West, however, may not be posted until Friday. The Clippers can secure seed no.2 with a win over the Nuggets on Wednesday. Missile loss to the Pacific provides a No. 4-Nr. 5 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the final planting yet to be decided in the final games of the regular season. The four western teams vying for the final two points of the play-off will play on Thursday to close the play-off look.
Here are the latest in the rankings, the games to watch on Wednesday and Thursday, and everything you need to know. Check for highlights and updates throughout the day.
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The Grizzlies will not face Giannis in the final seed match
Giannis Antetokounpo says he had created strong anger from the lack of hateful calls during the resumption, which led him to hit Mortiz Wagner on the head.
If the Memphis Grizzlies can take care of business Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks, they may need to send Moe Wagner a thank-you note.
The Grizzlies are 1-6 in the bubble and are in danger of not falling out of the play-off controversy, but they took a break Wednesday when the NBA announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss Thursday’s game while serving a one-game suspension for Wagner button head on Tuesday.
The Memphis situation is simple: Win, and they are in the game. Lose, and this is out of their hands.
The Bucks are locked in the best seed of the East and do not have much incentive to play their best players anyway, and the suspension of Antetokounmpo made at least one easy decision for coach Mike Budenholzer.
But that’s not out of the Grizzlies’ concern. After Tuesday’s loss to the Boston Celtics, coach Taylor Jenkins said they are trying to keep their attention, keeping so they just haven’t met their standard. Doesn’t it hurt that the ruling MVP won’t be on the road to finally finding it, nonetheless. – Royce Young
Nick Nurse lets his assistant coach against the Sixers
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse is allowing assistant Adrian Griffin to take over the squad for Wednesday’s game against the Philerselphia 76ers, the team announced about 90 minutes before the start of the attack.
Griffin thanked the nurse for the opportunity during the availability of preliminary media.
“I think [Nurse] is a wonderful human being, “Griffin said.” He understands that a coach like me needs some repetition to be a head coach. He knows my ambition and wants to see me grow as an individual inside and outside the court. It’s a great gesture from the coach. He approached me with it. It simply shows what kind of character the Nurse Coach has. We have a first class organization for a reason. “ – Andrew Lopez
Wednesday’s games are a must see
Full table of results for Wednesday
Updated play-in positions updated
8. Blazers Trail Portland | 34-39 (.466) | –
t-9. Memphis Grizzlies | 33-39 (.458) | 0.5 GB
t-9. Sun Phoenix | 33-39 (.458) | 0.5 GB
11. San Antonio Spurs | 32-38 (.457) | 0.5 GB
MM MORE: NBA play-in scenarios NBA Conference
Thursday’s games are a must see
Milwaukee Bucks vs Memphis Grizzlies | 4 pm ET
Memphis can guarantee itself a kick in the play-off tournament with a win against the Bucks, closing at least seed number 9. A win and a loss by Portland later in the night takes the Grizzlies to eighth place, giving them the upper hand in play. The good news for Memphis is that it probably won’t have to face a Bucks squad in full force. Giannis Antetokounmpo could downplay the game however, due to his head pulling out of Tuesday’s game. Milwaukee may choose to rest more starters by going to the playoffs with the best seed in the already closed East. – Andrew Lopez
Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns | 4 pm ET
Like the Grizzlies, the Suns could also benefit from a team looking towards play-offs rather than going out in the final seed match. With Tuesday’s loss in Portland, Dallas is closed at number 7 in the playoffs. The Mavericks can look to rest Luka Doncic (32 points, 11.3 assists, 11 rebounds in six bubble games) and Kristaps Porzingis (30.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks in six bubble games), which could open things up for Phoenix . Although the Suns are looking to reach 8-0, a play-off trip is not guaranteed. They need a Memphis or Portland to lose, combined with a win of their own. It would be the first consecutive eight-game winning streak from Phoenix since 2010, which is also the last time the Suns made the playoffs. – Lopez
San Antonio Spurs vs Utah Jazz | 6:30 pm ET
Before Tuesday’s game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked what he would have said if a month ago someone had told him that San Antonio had a chance to go 6-2 in the bubble and make the play off. “I would have tried them with drugs,” closed Popovich. Popovich noted that when your team has no championship aspirations, you need to look towards development. Thankfully for the Spurs, which has become a potential play-off bed. Because of the percentage points, Spurs need more help than others. However, Utah could play for playoff games. Currently No.6, Jazz has a chance to go somewhere if things bounce their way through other games. – Lopez
In his second fair game scoring more than 50 points, Damian Lillard averaged 61 points and eight assists as he led the Trail Blazers to a 134-131 victory in a wild game against the Mavericks.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets | 9 pm ET
You really only have to be tuner in this game to see what Damian Lillard does next: 51 points? 61 points? More? Who knows. Lillard is on average at a better bubble point 37 while also placing 9.3 assists in 41.4 minutes. CJ McCollum is the only other player in Florida averaging 40.0 minutes while Portland has relied on one or two of their combinations to keep the Blazers in contention. Brooklyn is locked in first place at No. 7 and Jacque Vaughn – coach for a chance to continue as network manager next season – has his team 5-2 overall with three straight wins. – Lopez
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics | Noon ET
Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers | 1:30 pm ET
New Orleans Pelicans vs Orlando Magic | 9 pm ET
Full table of results for Thursday
Analysis and intel
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