At the beginning of the season, the NBA board of governors agreed to introduce a Play-In Tournament to the 2021 postseason.
Prior to the traditional 16-team playoff bracket beginning, the 7th ranked team will face the 8th ranked team to earn the No. 7 seed. Then, the 9th ranked team will face the 10th ranked team. The loser of the Seven-Eight game will host the winner of the Nine-Ten game with the winner of that matchup claiming the No. 8 seed.
With the standings tight heading into the final month, let's take a look at how Saturday night's results impacted the race for Play-In seeds in each Conference:
Washington Wizards 121, Detroit Pistons 100
Chicago Bulls 106, Cleveland Cavaliers 96
What it means:
In the East, three of the four teams battling for the 10th seed in the East took the floor on Saturday.
The Bulls (current owners of the 10th seed) and Wizards, who have won six of their last seven, made gains on the 10th seed with wins. Chicago's win, which snapped their five-game losing streak, also further distanced the Cleveland Cavaliers, who now trail the Bulls by three games.
Boston Celtics 119, Golden State Warriors 114
Memphis Grizzlies 128, Milwaukee Bucks 115
San Antonio Spurs 111, Phoenix Suns 85
What it means:
By defeating two-time reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in Milwaukee, the Memphis Grizzlies reduced the gap to the seventh-seeded Dallas Mavericks, who have lost four of their last six.
With Stephen Curry and the Warriors losing in Boston and the Spurs pulling off an upset in Phoenix, both franchises are now tied in the win percentage (.491). The Spurs win further distances the 11th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans from the race, now leading the Zion Williamson-led squad by 2.5 games with only a month of the regular season remaining.
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