With the addition of Play-in games In the 2021 NBA playoffs, the seeding scramble is wilder – and more important – than ever, with almost every game on the track with a significant impact on the postseason.
Here’s a breakdown of all of Saturday’s major games and what the results mean for the seed, as well as a look at what the play-in matchups would be if the season ends today:
Stephen Curry offered another reminder of why the rest of the Western Conference doesn’t want a part of him in any postseason game. Curry lost 49 points in Saturday’s 136-97 win against the guest Oklahoma City Thunder. The last offensive explosion was the seventh time this season that Curry has made 10 or more 3s – and the fifth time he has hit the bull’s eye in his last 15 games. With the win, the Warriors stayed in eighth place in the west, half a game before Memphis grizzlies.
The Warriors have four more home games to end the regular season, but they face a tough one-on-one against the on Monday and Tuesday Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns. The Warriors also have an end-of-season showdown against the Grizzlies, who threaten a week from Sunday in San Francisco. – Nick Friedell
The Nets victory on Saturday brought the longest defeat of the season with four. Now Brooklyn has four games remaining to further refine its rotations, build chemistry, and solidify its playoff seeding. While at least third place is as good as guaranteed for the Nets, the win over Denver Brooklyn brings half a game to the Bucks – who own the tiebreaker in the series – in the race for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Any nervousness about the current expansion of the networks must be alleviated by recognizing James Harden‘s upcoming return. Harden has been a key to uncovering the nets’ offense, and since its debut on Jan 16, Nets have been 23-5 when at least two of the Big 3 are playing and one of them is Harden, according to ESPN Stats & Information Research. – Malika Andrews
The Wizards won in extra time for a second game in a row and were ahead of the Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings. Washington is now number 9 with Indiana number 10. Russell Westbrook Oscar Robertson tied for the most triple doubles in NBA history, and the Wiz rolled on to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Play-in matchups after Saturday’s games
Play-in games will take place May 18-21
Game 1: No. 8 Charlotte at No. 7 Boston – Winner is No. 7 in the playoffs
Game 2: No. 10 Indiana at No. 9 Washington – Winner continues in play-in; Loser is eliminated
Game 3: Indiana / Washington winner at Boston / Charlotte loser – winner is number 8 in the playoffs
Game 1: No. 8 Golden State at No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers – Winner is No. 7 seed in playoffs
Game 2: # 10 San Antonio at # 9 Memphis – Winner Continues Play-In; Loser is eliminated
Game 3: Memphis / San Antonio Winner at Lakers / Golden State Loser – Winner is number 8 in the playoffs
The most important games on Sunday
Heat at Celtics, 1 p.m. ET
Pelicans among hornets, 7 p.m. ET
Mavs at Cavs, 7 p.m. ET
Cops to Pistons, 8 p.m. ET
Sunbathing at Lakers, 10 p.m. ET