Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder talks with the team during a timeout in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 2, 2021. The Jazz defeated the Chicago Bulls 113-106. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Two weeks now remain in the NBA’s regular season, and many are starting to turn their attention to the playoffs.
That means eyeing the standings as teams jockey for position and fans try to target the teams they want their favorite squad to either get matched up against or avoid.
After sitting atop the Western Conference standings for nearly three months, the Utah Jazz fell to second last Friday night with a loss to the Phoenix Suns (the two teams swapped places), and the teams have gone back-and-forth in the days since, with the Suns now in the top spot after Sunday’s games. The two teams are tied with 46-18 records, but Phoenix holds the tiebreaker.
As the Jazz jockey for position in the West, it’s worth paying attention to the races for the bottom seeds to see who Utah could play in the first round. Here’s a look at the Western Conference playoff race, including the ninth and 10th-place teams, as they will participate in the play-in tournament with the seventh and eighth-place teams after the regular season to determine seeding.
This will be updated nightly through the remainder of the regular season. Schedule strength is according to Tankathon.com, ranked by most difficult in the NBA.
Western Conference playoff race through May 2
Phoenix Suns — 13th-hardest remaining schedule
Utah Jazz — 22nd-hardest remaining schedule.
Denver Nuggets — 3 games back, 11th-hardest remaining schedule.
LA Clippers — 3.5 games back, 28th-hardest remaining schedule.
Dallas Mavericks — 10 games back, 26th-hardest remaining schedule.
Los Angeles Lakers — 10 games back, 5th-hardest remaining schedule.
Portland Trail Blazers — 10 games back, 8th-hardest remaining schedule.
Memphis Grizzlies — 13.5 games back, 27th-hardest remaining schedule.
Golden State Warriors — 14 games back, 17th-hardest remaining schedule.
San Antonio Spurs — 14.5 games back, 1st-hardest remaining schedule.
*Note on play-in tournament: Started last year in the NBA’s Orlando bubble, the play-in tournament will take place May 18-21. As outlined by the NBA, the seventh-place team in each conference will host the eighth-place team for a game, with the winner earning the new 7 seed. The ninth-place team will host the 10th-place team, and the loser of the 7-8 matchup will host the winner of the 9-10 game to determine the 8 seed.
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News
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