Play-In Picture: Wizards climb over Pacers for 9th

May 9, 2021, 3:00 PM ● NBA.com Staff

Russell Westbrook has Washington surging, and now just 1.5 games behind Charlotte for the No. 8 seed.

State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament, through May 9 (PHT).

Right now, the Wizards are probably the team no one wants to face — either in the State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament or the first round of the playoffs. That’s because of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal.

Washington’s star duo was firing on all cylinders in Sunday’s (PHT) victory over Indiana that pulled it up to No. 9 in the East and within shouting distance (1.5 games) of eighth. Westbrook made history with his 181st triple-double, tying Oscar Robertson’s all-time record. All Beal did was score 50 points. Right now, we shouldn’t put anything past them … or the Wizards.

Meanwhile out West, the Trail Blazers continue to roll, routing the Spurs for their third consecutive win while widening increasing their lead over the Lakers for the No. 6 seed to 1.5 games (which really could be 2.5 since they hold the tiebreaker).

If the State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament started today:

Eastern Conference

  • East 7 (Celtics) vs. East 8 (Hornets) | Winner gets No. 7 overall seed
  • East 9 (Wizards) vs. East 10 (Pacers) | Loser is eliminated
  • Loser 7/8 vs. Winner 9/10 | Winner gets No. 8 overall seed

Western Conference

  • West 7 (Lakers) vs. West 8 (Warriors) | Winner gets No. 7 overall seed
  • West 9 (Grizzlies) vs. West 10 (Spurs) | Loser is eliminated
  • Loser 7/8 vs. Winner 9/10 | Winner gets No. 8 overall seed



5. Atlanta Hawks (–)

Record: 37-31
Games Ahead (7th): 1.5

*Holds tiebreaker vs. BOS, MIA
Games Back (5th):

Last Result: 133-126 L @ IND
Next Opponent: vs. WAS on Tuesday (PHT)

The Hawks find themselves separated by half 0.5 games for both fourth and sixth place. Talk about a fluid situation in the season’s final eight days. The task doesn’t get any easier coming up, as Atlanta hosts a surging Wizards club with Russell Westbrook looking to break Oscar Robertson’s all-time triple-double record.

6. Miami Heat (–)

Record: 36-31
Games Ahead (7th): 1.0
Games Back (5th): 0.5

*BOS holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 121-112 W vs. MIN
Next Opponent: @ BOS on Monday (PHT)

The Heat eye the most important games of their season, a consecutive set at Boston starting Monday (1:00 AM, NBA TV Philippines) that will likely determine which of the two teams secures a fixed playoff spot and which has to battle for their lives in the Play-In.

7. Boston Celtics (–)

Record: 35-32
Games Ahead (11th): 7.0
Games Back (6th): 1.0

* Holds tiebreaker vs. MIA

Last Result: 121-99 L @ CHI
Next Opponent: MIA on Tuesday (PHT)

After a lopsided loss to Chicago, the schedule provides the Celtics an immediate opportunity for atonement with consecutive games against Miami that will likely determine the East’s sixth seed and the secure postseason place that comes with it.

8. Charlotte Hornets (–)

Record: 33-34
Games Ahead (11th): 5.0
Games Back (6th): 3.0

Last Result: 122-112 W vs. ORL
Next Opponent: vs. NOP on Sunday

A victory over Orlando on Saturday helped the Hornets cement their spot in the midst of the Play-In race, where they sit 1.5 games ahead of Washington in eighth and a full five over Chicago for the last spot. But they better not take their foot off the accelerator knowing that Russell Westbrook & Co. aren’t about to slow down anytime soon.

9. Washington Wizards (🔼)

Record: 32-36
Games Ahead (11th): 3.5
Games Back (6th): 4.5

Last Result: 133-132 W (OT) @ IND
Next Opponent: @ ATL on Tuesday (PHT)

Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal delivered in a huge way Sunday, powering the Wizards in a 133-132 OT win over the Pacers. Westbrook notched another triple-double (tying Oscar Robertson’s all-time record for triple-doubles with 181) and Bradley Beal poured in 50. The win propelled Washington over Indiana for the No. 9 seed. This is a team that no one wants to face right now.

10. Indiana Pacers (🔽)

Record: 31-36
Games Ahead (11th): 3.0
Games Back (6th): 5.0

Last Result: 133-132 L (OT) vs. WAS
Next Opponent: @ CLE on Tuesday (PHT)

Despite huge performances from Domantas Sabonis and Caris LeVert, the Pacers couldn’t slow Westbrook and Beal, dropping them below Washington and into the No. 10 seed. It’ll still take a lot for Chicago to catch them, but the Pacers can’t afford to lose Tuesday against the Cavaliers.

11. Chicago Bulls (—)

Record: 28-39
Games Back (10th): 3.0

Last Result: 121-99 W vs. BOS
Next Opponent: @ DET on Monday (PHT)

It’s going to take a minor miracle for the Bulls, with just five games left to make up a three-game deficit in the standings, to reach the Play-In Tournament. They need to take it one game at a time, starting with Monday’s clash against the Pistons (8:00 AM, League Pass).



5. Dallas Mavericks (–)

Record: 39-28
Games Ahead (7th): 1.5
*Holds tiebreaker vs. LAL
Games Back (5th): —
*Holds tiebreaker vs. POR

Last Result: 110-90 W vs. CLE
Next Opponent: @ CLE on Monday (PHT)

The Mavericks secured their first division title in 10 years with Saturday’s rout. More importantly, they extended their recent run to six victories in seven games as they continue to tighten their grip on the West’s fifth spot. An added bonus: They expended minimal effort to do it, with Luka Doncic needed for just 23 minutes as the Mavericks took the lead for good in the opening minutes and never looked back. Now they need to make sure they don’t get caught off-guard Monday against Cleveland.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (–)

Record: 39-29
Games Ahead (7th): 1.5
*Holds tiebreaker vs. LAL
Games Back (5th): 0.5
*POR holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 124-102 W vs. SAS
Next Opponent: vs. HOU on Tuesday (PHT)

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 57 points in an easy win over the Spurs, padding their lead over the Lakers for the No. 6 seed. Portland, which has won seven of its last eight, is now just 0.5 games behind Dallas for 5th. Now healthy, the Blazers seem to be coming together down the stretch — a scary thought for any opponent.

7. Los Angeles Lakers (–)

Record: 37-30
Games Ahead (11th): 7.0
Games Back (6th): 1.5
*POR holds tiebreaker

Last Result: 106-101 L @ POR
Next Opponent: vs. PHO on Monday (PHT)

The Lakers finally got a real Anthony Davis performance from their star big man with 36 points and 12 rebounds against the Blazers. And it still wasn’t enough to stave off their extended swoon, with their 17th loss in 26 games dropping them effectively 2.5 games behind Portland thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker with just five games to play and LeBron James still on the mend. The task doesn’t get any easy Monday with a clash against the Suns (10:00 AM PHT, One Sports).

8. Golden State Warriors (—)

Record: 35-33
Games Ahead (11th): 4.5
Games Back (6th): 4.0

Last Result: 136-97 W vs. OKC
Next Opponent: vs. UTA on Tuesday (PHT)

Stephen Curry did what Stephen Curry does, pouring in 49 points in 29 minutes to propel the Warriors past the Thunder and keep their grip on the No. 8 seed in the West. Golden State remains just 0.5 games ahead of Memphis for eighth, which could make the season finale between the two teams intriguing.

9. Memphis Grizzlies (—)

Record: 34-33
Games Ahead (11th): 4.0
Games Back (6th): 4.5

Last Result: 109-99 W @ TOR
Next Opponent: vs. NOR on Tuesday (PHT)

After a frustrating loss to the Pistons on Friday, the Grizzlies bounced back nicely, holding off the Raptors for a pivotal win. Sunday’s victory means Memphis needs just two wins in its remaining five games to clinch a spot in the Play-In.

10. San Antonio Spurs (–)

Record: 32-35
Games Ahead (11th): 2.0
Games Back (6th): 6.5

Last Result: 124-102 L @ POR
Next Opponent: vs. MIL on Tuesday (PHT)

The Spurs will most likely limp into the Play-In, if they get in at all. Losers in six of its last seven, San Antonio’s lead over New Orleans for the No. 10 seed is just two games. Yes, the Pelicans just lost Zion Williamson indefinitely, but they still have enough talent to pull off the feat. If that’s not enough, the Spurs next face a Bucks team that still has eyes on the No. 2 seed in the East.

11. New Orleans Pelicans (–)

Record: 30-37
Games Back (10th): 2.0

Last Result: 109-107 L @ PHI
Next Opponent: @ CHA on Monday (PHT)

Yes, they won’t have Zion Williamson for the last five games, but they still have enough talent to jump over the Spurs for the No. 10 seed. But they can’t afford any slips. Monday’s game against the Hornets is basically a must-win, while they also have to hope the Bucks can knock off the Spurs on Tuesday.

12. Sacramento Kings (–)

Record: 29-38
Games Back (10th): 3.0

Last Result: 113-104 L vs. SAS
Next Opponent: vs. OKC on Monday (PHT)

Three games back with five games to play. It’ll be tough, but not completely impossible. One thing working in the Kings favor is that their next two games are against the Thunder. Take care of those games and then things might start to get interesting.


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