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‘Jazz’ Tagged Posts

Rockets beat Jazz for West Convention finals berth

Video by CBS Sports activitiesHOUSTON (AP) -- Chris Paul did not wish to discuss his pos...

 

Video by CBS Sports activities

HOUSTON (AP) — Chris Paul did not wish to discuss his postseason failures, not after Houston’s win Tuesday over Utah lastly obtained him into the Western Convention finals.

“For us it was simply … they have been in the best way,” Paul mentioned. “So we have been simply attempting to get one other win.”

His Rockets teammates noticed it slightly in a different way. They have been keen to speak about Paul’s dominant efficiency, together with a playoff career-high 41 factors, in a 112-102 victory in Sport 5 that eradicated the Jazz.

BOX SCORE: ROCKETS 112, JAZZ 102

“He went on the market and took over the sport,” James Harden mentioned. “(To have) a possibility for him that he is by no means had earlier than. He went to go get it. He put us all on his again and mentioned pay attention: `I obtained us.'”

Paul made eight Three-pointers and had 10 assists and 7 rebounds and not using a turnover. He is the primary participant in playoff historical past to have not less than 40 factors and 10 assists and not using a turnover since turnovers grew to become an official statistic in 1977-78, in response to the Elias Sports activities Bureau.

“The efficiency that Chris put on the market — if he did not make it out this time, one thing’s fallacious,” coach Mike D’Antoni mentioned.

It is going to be Houston’s second journey to the Western Convention finals in 4 years and the primary ever for Paul. The purpose guard, who’s in his 13th NBA season, has been panned for failing to get previous the second spherical in his 9 earlier journeys to the playoffs.

Whereas he would not discuss lastly getting over the second-round hump, he had no drawback discussing how a lot he is having fun with this season.

“It is simply enjoyable,” he mentioned. “It is not concerning the factors or something like that. It is concerning the course of.”

Houston will meet Golden State within the convention finals starting Monday night time at residence.

Paul is a nine-time All-Star in his first season with Houston after an offseason commerce from the Los Angeles Clippers. His earlier career-best within the playoffs was 35 factors, which he achieved 3 times.

Star rookie Donovan Mitchell had 22 of his 24 factors for Utah within the third quarter earlier than leaving with about seven minutes left with an obvious left leg damage. The workforce did not present an replace on his situation after the sport, however he was sporting a strolling boot on his left foot.

“Sad with the outcomes, however pleased with everyone as an entire,” Mitchell mentioned.

Houston returns to the convention finals for the primary time since 2015. It is the second straight season the Jazz misplaced on this spherical after being swept by Golden State final season.

The highest-seeded Rockets led by eight factors after a Three-pointer by Paul with about six minutes left. The Jazz scored the following seven factors, highlighted by a Three-pointer from Royce O’Neale, earlier than Paul made eight fast factors to push Houston’s result in 105-96 with about three minutes left.

Joe Ingles made a basket for Utah earlier than Paul added one other basket to make it 107-98. The group started chanting “CP3” repeatedly as Paul dribbled down the court docket on the following possession.

The Jazz have been with out Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum due to hamstring accidents. Rubio has missed the complete sequence along with his damage, and Exum was injured within the third quarter of Sport 5.

P.J. Tucker scored a playoff career-best 19 factors, and Harden added 18 factors on an evening he was “beneath the climate,” in response to D’Antoni.

Mitchell’s big third quarter left the Jazz up by Three to start the fourth. Derrick Favors made a layup for Utah to begin the ultimate quarter earlier than Paul and Tucker hit consecutive Three-pointers to place Houston again on prime 81-80 with about 10 minutes left.

Utah regained the lead on a basket by O’Neale earlier than Houston used an 11-5 spurt, with the primary 5 factors from Gerald Inexperienced, to take a 92-87 lead with about seven minutes left. Harden capped the run with a dunk after stealing the ball from Mitchell. Mitchell was injured on that play and grabbed his left leg. He needed to be helped to the bench and was shortly taken to the locker room with the assistance of two folks.

TIP-INS

Jazz: Alec Burks scored 22 factors off the bench. … Rudy Gobert completed with 12 factors, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks. … Mitchell completed 9 of 17 on subject targets. … O’Neale had 17 factors.

Rockets: Houston made 18 Three-pointers to offer the workforce 10 or extra Three-pointers in an NBA playoff-record 16 straight video games. … Clint Capela completed with 5 blocks. … The Rockets had 10 steals on Tuesday for his or her fourth sport within the sequence with 10 or extra.

THEY SAID IT

Mitchell on what coach Quin Snyder’s message was to the workforce after the loss: “I used to be so upset I wasn’t listening. I am not going to deceive you.”

WHAT A PRESENT

D’Antoni turned 67 on Tuesday and mentioned this sport was the most effective current he is ever acquired.

“Surely,” he mentioned. “Particularly at this age.”

UP NEXT

Houston will host the primary two video games of the convention finals towards Golden State or New Orleans.

—-

Extra AP basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Associated slideshow: 2018 NBA playoffs (Supplied by picture providers) 

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 08:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a shot on Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 8, 2018 in Oakland, California.  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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) 2018 NBA playoffs

NBA playoffs: Rockets’ smothering protection causes Jazz implosion in Recreation Three, however Utah is not accomplished but

 

SALT LAKE CITY — In Recreation 2 in Houston, the less-heralded, less-talented Utah Jazz did all the pieces proper as a way to flip what loads of basketball observers anticipated to be a Houston Rockets sequence rout right into a second-round sequence that abruptly appeared tantalizing. The Jazz jumped out of the gate in Recreation 2 with excessive vitality, taking a 10-point lead partway by means of the primary quarter. They discovered a participant apart from Donovan Mitchell to run the offense by means of in Joe Ingles, who went off for a career-high 27 factors on an array of open 3s, off-the-dribble 3s, and step-back jumpers. They beat the Rockets by basically being the Rockets, scoring with excessive effectivity on the rim and from Three, the place the Jazz went a blistering 15-of-32, whereas eschewing practically all mid-range photographs. It actually helped that Dante Exum performed lockdown protection on James Harden, and that the Rockets could not purchase a bucket.

In Recreation Three on Friday evening in Utah, in entrance of a sold-out house crowd that turned Vivint Good House Area into what felt like a raucous school health club at tipoff, the Jazz had an opportunity to show this sequence on its head. They’d an opportunity to place the NBA’s finest common season crew on discover that what wins video games in February would not all the time win video games in Could. They’d a first-rate alternative to point out the Rockets well-knit crew based mostly on a suffocating protection and a sharing offense may kill the playoff desires of one of many NBA’s finest offenses of all time.

And in each possible means, the Jazz got here out and did all the pieces unsuitable.

The 113-92 shellacking wasn’t a Rockets explosion a lot as a Jazz implosion. Houston has a means of scoring a ton of baskets in a rush and pummeling groups into submission from past the Three-point line. This was not that. Certain, Eric Gordon had a helluva sport for the Rockets — 25 factors on 13 photographs — however Houston solely shot 11-of-36 from Three. The Rockets gained regardless of avoiding the first idea Mike D’Antoni’s offense: No mid-range photographs. Almost a 3rd of the Rockets’ photographs on Friday evening have been mid-rangers.

However the Jazz? UGH. Nothing went proper. Bear in mind once they got here out weapons blazing within the first quarter of Recreation 2? Nicely, they have been firing blanks within the first quarter of Recreation Three. Ninety seconds into the sport, after the Rockets hit two transition 3s, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder referred to as a timeout. He sensed one thing was going unsuitable. And fewer than 9 minutes into the sport, the Jazz have been down 20. Within the first quarter, the Rockets made 16 photographs and had zero turnovers; the Jazz made eight photographs and had six turnovers. Coming off the best efficiency of his profession, Ingles turned in a 2-of-10 stinker, with 5 turnovers and seemingly zero confidence at driving into the tooth of the Rockets’ protection. Mitchell had one in all his worst video games as a professional; he pressured up far too many ugly, contested photographs, together with a first-quarter airball within the face of smothering James Harden protection (sure, you learn that proper: “smothering James Harden protection,” which was a recurring theme all sport).

“The photographs I missed have been horrible photographs — they weren’t beauty — and I can not do this,” Mitchell flogged himself afterward. “I’d have been higher off simply not displaying up, and that is what I did — I did not present up.”

Mitchell completed Four-of-16 for 10 factors, however he was truly bit worse than that stat line signifies. This sport was over by halftime, with the Rockets up 30 — and at halftime, Mitchell had precisely two factors, and had made 1-of-10 photographs.

“We simply adjusted our perspective, vitality and spirit and did it,” D’Antoni mentioned. “Our protection was very good. After which we have been hitting photographs — stored the gang out of it, stored them on their heels. You might simply see the fellows feeding off of excellent protection after good protection.”

This wasn’t the Jazz channeling John Coltrane or Miles Davis or Louis Armstrong on the market. This was the Jazz channeling Kenny G — and placing on a bumbling Kenny G efficiency at that.

It was the Rockets who actually pressured that dud of a efficiency from the Jazz: Clint Capela blocking 4 photographs, and Trevor Ariza taking part in dynamic perimeter protection that resulted in him being plus-40 in 27 minutes.

“They did what they’ll do,” Snyder mentioned afterward. “For us the margin for error isn’t that nice. They have been targeted and decided to do what they wished to do, and we did not present sufficient resistance.”

It may be tempting to take a look at a blowout like this as a momentum-shifter that may ship a whole sequence towards an early finish. Maybe it’s — although I can not think about the Jazz popping out so listless earlier than a house crowd as soon as once more in Recreation Four. Pretty much as good because the Rockets regarded, and as terrible because the Jazz regarded, this was not a “put-a-fork-in-them” second for the Jazz. All it’s a must to do is look again to Recreation 2 to see what this Jazz crew is able to.

However on Friday evening the Rockets additionally reminded us what they’re able to: A crew that actually can rating buckets in bunches, however even once they’re not completely zeroed in on their offensive sport — like in Recreation Three — they’ll nonetheless play some surprisingly dominant protection. For as a lot as this Rockets crew is understood for its offense — for as a lot of an web meme “James Harden protection” has develop into — the Rockets truly had the fifth-best defensive effectivity within the NBA this season. And Harden proved all by means of Recreation Three that when he is dialed in on protection, he can truly be a really optimistic pressure.

Possibly this Rockets momentum carries into Recreation Four. If it does, this sequence is over. I really feel just like the Jazz have yet another counterpunch left in them. But when the Rockets can maintain taking part in energetic crew protection like they only did — nicely, be careful, Golden State, since you’re about to step into one helluva sequence.

How a preseason Euro step paved the best way for the whole lot Donovan Mitchell is doing for the Jazz

 

Earlier this 12 months, Utah Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant advised me a narrative. It was early October, and Bryant was within the health club with Donovan Mitchell introducing the Jazz rookie to some completely different strikes. Mitchell had already grabbed everybody’s consideration with a monster Summer time League exhibiting after falling to No. 13 within the draft, and now, as a predominant two-foot jumper, he was set on evolving his footwork as a one-foot finisher at and across the rim. 

“We have been engaged on kind of a Euro-step transfer, in the event you can visualize coming on the defender full pace, ball in your left hand, and also you throw the ball into the center of your physique like you are going to your proper, however then you definately decide it up and Euro step again to your left,” Bryant advised CBS Sports activities. “So we labored on it for a day, and the very subsequent night time he did it to Tyson Chandler in a sport [at full speed], similar to that. That is once I assume I began to appreciate we had a particular participant.”

That story is the right microcosm for what Mitchell is doing in these playoffs, and has been doing all season. He simply picks issues up so rapidly. So seemingly effortlessly. Someday he is perfecting a Euro step in a single day, the subsequent he is determining tips on how to produce as a No. 1 possibility, within the playoffs, on an in any other case offensively restricted group, on the fly. 

It is a complete completely different degree of burden when groups are devoting their full defensive consideration, and sport planning, to stopping you. We noticed what that did to Damian Lillard within the first spherical in opposition to the Pelicans, who stunned Lillard with the Steph Curry remedy out to 30 toes, sending waves of defenders at him and trapping the whole lot in a means he admitted he’d by no means skilled. Suffice it to say, Mitchell has by no means skilled any of this both. But right here he’s, virtually flawlessly main a Jazz group that’s at present tied with the closely favored Rockets 1-1 within the convention semifinals.

In Sport 2 on Wednesday, Mitchell had an off night time by his requirements — 17 factors on 6 of 21 from the sphere and simply 2 of eight from downtown. He was additionally a team-high plus-13 in his 37 minutes. He’s the gravity that helps virtually all Utah operate, the lone true creator off the dribble who can get into the lane and create open seems to be for guys like Ricky Rubio, who’s out with a hamstring in the intervening time however is in the course of a profession capturing 12 months, and Joe Ingles, who went 7 of 9 from Three-point land in Sport 2 for a career-high 27 factors. 

All advised, Utah had six gamers rating in double figures in its Sport 2 win, and one other two, Dante Exum and Royce O’Neale, have been actually good on each ends entire combining for 15 factors. That form of offensive steadiness is so essential for a group like Utah, which lacks particular person creators outdoors of Mitchell, which in flip makes Mitchell’s job even tougher. It could be one factor to provide a gifted younger athlete the ball and say: “Go get yours, don’t fret about anybody else.” However to provide the ball to a rookie and say: “Go get yours, however ensure that everybody else will get theirs as effectively,” that is a complete completely different factor. 

Russell Westbrook nonetheless hasn’t found out tips on how to correctly steadiness these two duties, tips on how to unleash his personal scoring instincts whereas nonetheless spreading the wealth. Kyrie Irving has been engaged on it for years. Mitchell appears to do it so naturally. Jazz common supervisor Dennis Lindsey advised me that was one of many issues he favored most about Mitchell popping out of Louisville: That he had, for lack of a greater clarification, come up within the sport as a part of a system moderately than an remoted star. 

He was “unselfish inside his position [in college],” was how Lindsey put it. Keep in mind, Mitchell solely averaged 15 factors a sport his last season at Louisville, and 11 per sport for his profession. This isn’t a gunner at coronary heart. “[Donovan] needed to study to be a high-usage man.”

True to kind, he has realized rapidly, as a result of that is what he does and that is what the Jazz want from him. They do not have sufficient firepower for Mitchell to let off the gasoline at any level. He has to assault, assault, assault, even when he isn’t having a great sport, which is tougher than it sounds, pushing by no matter tiny studying curve he may need. And he is prepared, and in a position, to just do that: Push by. That is how he went zero for 7 from deep in Sport 2 vs. OKC within the first spherical, solely to reply with 13 fourth-quarter factors because the Jazz evened the collection. All advised, Mitchell has 60 fourth-quarter factors in these playoffs, which leads everybody. 

On Wednesday vs. Houston, it was principally the identical story: A troublesome capturing night time for Mitchell, however down the stretch there was little doubt who Utah’s greatest participant was because the rookie fueled a 16-2 fourth-quarter run that successfully determined the sport. As a part of that run, he did this:

Severely, this man is so particular. Not only for the athleticism, which is clear, or the ever-evolving ability set, which is elegant — however for the speed at which he is choosing all this up. Distinction defenses. Totally different conditions. All of it squarely on his shoulders to identification and dissect in a cut up second. It could be an excessive amount of for lots of 10-year veterans, not to mention a rookie, however Mitchell solely must see issues as soon as, then he is obtained it. With 209 factors by eight playoff video games, solely two rookies in NBA historical past have gotten to 200 playoff factors quicker: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six video games) and Wilt Chamberlain (seven video games).  

Playoff basketball is just not alleged to be this straightforward, and Mitchell’s job is even more durable with Rubio out, as as soon as once more he is needed to adapt on the fly, assuming an much more major position as the general offensive conductor along with his particular person obligations. Do not forget, not less than half of Mitchell’s focus needs to be on the defensive finish vs. a Rockets group that may shoot you out of the health club, and proper out of the entire collection, in the event you’re not cautious. He does not have the luxurious James Harden or Stephen Curry does. He cannot focus virtually solely on offense and simply “do his job” defensively. He needs to be a distinction maker defensively. He carries the load on each ends. At 21 years previous. 

What number of rookies are the most effective participant on their very own group whereas additionally guarding the opposite group’s greatest participant? It is greater than a matter of ability at that time; that is about psychological self-discipline and stamina and supreme intelligence — issues which can be supposed to come back with time Who was it checking Harden down the stretch? Mitchell. Who wasn’t afraid to get proper into Harden’s house and crowd the hell out of him even with 5 fouls hanging over him? Mitchell. Who knew precisely when to go get his personal bucket and when to kick to his teammates? Mitchell. Should you did not know higher, you’d assume he is been on this scenario 100 instances. You’d assume that is all previous hat. 

“So far as being a quick learner,” Bryant mentioned, “he is the most effective I have been round.”

NBA Playoffs 2018: Scores, highlights and evaluation from Wednesday’s Cavaliers, Jazz and Rockets wins

 

Playoff-palooza continued with a trio of Recreation 2s on Wednesday.

Within the first sport, LeBron James completely went off, ending with 46 factors, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. It turned out the Cavs wanted each single a type of factors, as they escaped with a 100-97 victory, regardless of main by 16 within the opening quarter. The Pacers 

After that one, the Jazz went into OKC and stole Recreation 2 from the Thunder to even their collection at 1-1. The Massive Three of OKC struggled, capturing a mixed 19 of 58 from the ground. In the meantime, Ricky Rubio hit 5 3s, Derrick Favors had a monster double-double and Donovan Mitchell led the best way with 28 factors. 

Within the third and remaining sport, the Rockets made simple work of the Timberwolves to take a 2-Zero lead of their collection. The Timberwolves did maintain a five-point lead after the primary quarter, however after that it was all Rockets, as they gained by 20 factors. Chris Paul bounced again from a troublesome efficiency in Recreation 1, ending with a game-high 27 factors. 

NBA playoff scores for Wednesday, April 18

Recreation 2: Cavaliers 100, Pacers 97

The Cavs did find yourself altering their beginning lineup, going with LeBron James, Kevin Love, George Hill, Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith. 

Ty Lue mentioned after Recreation 1 that the Cavs wanted LeBron James to be aggressive and set the tone early. That’s precisely what he did, scoring the Cavs’ first 16 factors in simply 5 minutes. It was the greatest first 5 minutes to any sport in LeBron’s profession. 

He continued the sturdy play all through the sport, ending with 46 factors, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, because the Cavs evened the collection with a 100-97 victory. 

The Pacers battled again from the massive deficit early, and had an opportunity to tie within the closing minute, however Victor Oladipo missed a large open Three-pointer. A giant issue within the sport was Oladipo solely enjoying 28 minutes as a consequence of foul bother. 

Recreation 2: Jazz 102, Thunder 95

Donovan Mitchell was questionable heading into Recreation 2 as a consequence of a foot harm, however the rookie guard did find yourself beginning, which was nice information for the Jazz. Mitchell dropped 28 factors because the Jazz stole one on the highway to even up the collection. Extra impressively, 13 of these factors got here within the fourth quarter to assist the Jazz safe the win. 

It was an exhilarating backwards and forwards sport, however the Thunder simply did not get ok performances from their Massive Three. Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony mixed for simply 54 factors on an abysmal 19 of 58 capturing. 

In the meantime, the Jazz position gamers stepped up. Ricky Rubio hit a surprising 5 Three-pointers and completed with 22 factors, 9 assists and 7 rebounds, whereas Derrick Favors posted a monster double-double with 20 factors and 16 rebounds. 

Recreation 2: Rockets 102, Timberwolves 82

The Timberwolves began off effectively in Recreation 2, taking a five-point lead after the primary quarter thanks to chill dunks like this from Andrew Wiggins. Sadly, it was all downhill from there. 

The Rockets outscored the Wolves by 20 factors within the second quarter, and cruised from there. James Harden shot simply 2 of 18 from the sector, however it did not matter, because the Rockets gained, 102-82. 

Chris Paul bounced again from a troublesome Recreation 1 to attain a game-high 27 factors. Gerald Inexperienced additionally had a robust sport off the bench, ending with 21 factors and 11 rebounds. 

Dwell weblog from Wednesday’s motion

NBA playoff image, standings, magic numbers, matchups: Jazz, Pelicans, Spurs, OKC one win from clinching in West

 

Coming into Sunday within the Western Convention playoff race, there are six groups bidding for 5 spots — and all six of them management their very own future, that means in the event that they win out, they’re in. Additional, all six of these groups play both the crew instantly above or under them on the ultimate day of the season. This. Is. Nuts. 

Right here is your Western Convention playoffs image coming into Sunday, April eight. 

NOTES: Our SportsLine mannequin, developed by predictive information engineer Stephen Oh, simulates your entire season 10,000 occasions to provide essentially the most unbiased and exact projections possible.

Already clinched

Houston Rockets (No. 1 seed)

The Rockets are locked into the No. 1 seed with home-court benefit clinched by the Finals ought to they make it there. Now, they simply wait to see who they’re going to face within the first spherical with the West’s No. eight seed nonetheless fully up within the air. If seeds maintain, Houston would get Minnesota within the opening spherical.  

Golden State Warriors (No. 2 seed)

The Warriors are locked into the No. 2 seed, and like Houston, they’re merely ready to see who they’ll play within the first spherical. If seeds maintain, Golden State will see No. 7 OKC within the first spherical, and what a matchup that might be with Stephen Curry seemingly not in a position to play. 

Portland Path Blazers (No. three seed)

The Blazers have clinched a playoff spot and are near locking the No. three seed, however it’s not a accomplished deal. They misplaced Saturday to the Spurs, and are actually only one recreation up within the loss column on the No. four Jazz, who they play on the ultimate evening of the season. First, they need to get previous Denver, which has gained 5 straight because it chases its personal playoff spot. 

  • Magic quantity to clinch No. three seed: Two
  • Magic quantity to clinch top-four seed: One
  • Remaining video games: at Denver, vs. Utah
  • SportsLine projection: 83 p.c to safe No. three seed

Combating for No. three seed

Utah Jazz (No. four seed)

Utah is 28-7 since Rudy Gobert returned to the lineup in late January. As talked about above, they’re only one loss again of the No. three Blazers, however they’re additionally simply two losses from probably lacking the playoffs. In the event that they have been to lose out and find yourself tied with the Nuggets, Denver would have the tiebreaker by way of a greater division report. 

  • Magic quantity to clinch playoff spot: Two
  • Video games remaining: at Lakers, vs. Warriors, at Blazers
  • SportsLine projection: 45.6 p.c to get top-four seed

One win away from clinching spot

New Orleans Pelicans (No. 5 seed)

Monster win for the Pelicans at Golden State on Saturday evening to maintain tempo with the No. 6 Spurs and No. 7 Thunder. These three are tied within the loss column, only one loss up on the No. 9 Nuggets, and the Pels play the Spurs on the ultimate evening of the season. A win towards the Clips on Monday, and the Pelicans will not have to fret in regards to the Spurs recreation: They’re going to be within the playoffs regardless. Lose towards the Clippers, and it’ll all come right down to Wednesday evening. 

  • Magic quantity to clinch playoff spot: Two
  • Remaining video games: at Clippers, vs. Spurs
  • SportsLine projection: 88 p.c to make playoffs; projected No. 7 seed

San Antonio Spurs (No. 6 seed)

The Spurs had misplaced 4 of six earlier than defeating Portland on Saturday evening. In keeping with SportsLine projection, that one win raised the Spurs’ probabilities of making the playoffs from lower than 60 p.c to virtually 100 p.c. Now, just like the Pelicans and the Thunder under, another win will seal a spot for the Spurs. They need to have the ability to get that towards the Kings on Monday. 

  • Magic quantity to clinch playoff spot: Two
  • Remaining video games: vs. Sacramento, at New Orleans
  • SportsLine: 98 p.c to make playoffs, 21.four p.c to get top-four seed

Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder (No. 7 seed)

One of the crucial spectacular efforts we have seen all season from the Thunder of their win over Houston on Saturday. A loss would’ve landed them outdoors the playoff image, however they acquired it accomplished. Now they arrive to Miami on Monday with an opportunity to lastly clinch a berth with a victory. 

  • Magic quantity to clinch playoff spot: Two
  • Video games remaining: at Miami, vs. Memphis
  • SportsLine: 91.5 p.c to make playoffs

Minnesota Timberwolves (No. eight seed)

The Wolves are tied within the loss column with the No. 9 Nuggets, and people two play one another on the ultimate evening of the season. It is beginning to look very very similar to that recreation may resolve the ultimate spot. In the event that they lose to the Grizzlies on Monday, they do not need to get it. 

  • Magic quantity to clinch playoff spot: Three
  • Remaining video games: vs. Memphis, vs. Denver
  • SportsLine: 76.four p.c to make playoffs

Outdoors trying in

Denver Nuggets (No. 9 seed)

Once you’re outdoors the playoffs coming into the final week, all you possibly can ask for is to regulate your personal future, and the Nuggets do. Win their remaining two video games, they usually’re in. Easy as that.         

  • Remaining video games: vs. Blazers, at Minnesota
  • SportsLine projection: 47.5 p.c to make playoffs