After a 15-game season finale on Sunday, the 20/21 regular season came to a close. Here's how it wrapped up.
For the first time in the organization's history, after a 121-99 victory over the Kings, the Utah Jazz secured the league's best record and homecourt advantage throughout the entirety of the postseason. They finished the season with 52 wins - one over the two-seeded Phoenix Suns.
The Trail Blazers, who beat the Nuggets in a season farewell, secured the No.6 spot and pushed the Lakers into the play-in tournament, despite the Lakers' victory over the Pelicans. The defending champs will now have to beat Steph Curry - the NBA's leading scorer - and the Warriors to secure the No.7 seed. Even if they make it, going back-to-back will be a Herculean task - no NBA team has ever won a title from such a low seed.
Golden State clinched the 8th seed after a 113-101 win over the Grizzlies, behind Curry's 46 points. They'll have two potential Play-in chances to secure a single victory needed to make it into the top 8 in the West. If they lose to the Lakers, they'll face either Memphis or San Antonio for the final ticket to the NBA Playoffs. If they win, they'll go up against the Suns in the first round of the Playoffs.
With a 123-109 victory over the Cavs, the Brooklyn Nets secured the No.2 seed in the East and are set to face the winner of the Celtics-Wizards Play-in game. Washington clinched the seventh seed with a win over the Hornets, pushing Charlotte to No.10 in the East. They will face the ninth-seeded Pacers in a single-elimination game for the final playoff spot.
After a 96-92 win over Boston, the Knicks clinched No.4 seed, earning the home-court advantage. They will face Atlanta in their first postseason appearance since '13. The rest of the bracket in the East includes the matchup between the Bucks (3) and the Heat (6), as the 76ers (1) and the Nets (2) await for the Play-in to decide their opponents.
The Play-in Tournament
Eastern Conference (Tuesday, May 18)
- The Charlotte Hornets (10) at The Indiana Pacers (9)
- The Washington Wizards (8) at The Boston Celtics (7)
Western Conference (Thursday, May 19)
- The San Antonio Spurs (10) at The Memphis Grizzlies (9)
- The Golden State Warriors (8) at The Los Angeles Lakers (7)
Thursday, May 20 - East: Winner of Hornets @ Pacers vs. Loser of Wizards @ Celtics
Friday, May 21 - West: Winner of Spurs @ Grizzlies vs. Loser of Warriors @ Lakers
Buckle up NBA fans, an exciting week of basketball is ahead of us. And that was the sole purpose of the Play-in concept -- making the end of the regular season more exciting, forcing teams into playing meaningful games right before the postseason.