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  • August 14, 2020
  • by admin

The Portland Trail Blazers and the Memphis Grizzlies will determine which team will end as the eighth seed in the Western Conference, where a matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers awaits. The structure of the play-in round dictates there could be a maximum of two games. The Blazers must win one game, while the Grizzlies must win two in order to clinch the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

How do both teams arrive at the play-in round?

The Grizzlies posted a 34-39 record in the 2019-20 regular season, but they shouldn’t be happy with the way things unfolded in the restart. Memphis had a healthy 3.5-game lead over the other contending teams in the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, but they stumbled in Orlando and managed to win just two of eight games. The Grizzlies, who also lost Jaren Jackson Jr. due to injury midway through the seeding games, turned things around when it mattered the most, though. The Grizzlies went 2-6 in the bubble, but they went 2-2 in the final two games and that was enough to surpass both the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the eighth seed. Memphis won the game that mattered the most and will now determine the fate in the next game — or two games, in a best-case scenario.

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On the other hand, the Blazers (35-39) were one of the best teams in the Western Conference during the Orlando bubble and posted a 6-2 record, including winning three in a row. That three-game winning streak was impressive in its own right, as Portland defeated the Dallas Mavericks, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets while having their backs against the wall each time out. In fact, Portland had to come from behind against Brooklyn on Thursday and only secured the eighth seed in the Western Conference when Caris LeVert’s potential game-winning two-pointer bounced off the back of the rim. Damian Lillard will try to carry Portland to the playoff once again, and the star point guard has done his part — he is averaging a league-leading 37.6 points per game in the bubble. He will need to be at his best if Portland wants to win at least one of two games against the Grizzlies.

Team news for Saturday’s contest

Memphis lists Tyus Jones as questionable for Saturday’s contest, as the point guard has not felt completely healthy and will be assessed prior to tip-off, while Jaren Jackson (knee) and Justise Winslow (hip) have both been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Portland lists Nassir Little as a game-time decision due to illness. Trevor Ariza (personal), Rodney Hood (Achilles), and Caleb Swanigan (personal) have all been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

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