Following yet another Memphis Grizzlies loss inside the NBA’s bubble, a play-in series is officially on the table in the Western Conference.
The Toronto Raptors knocked off the Grizzlies, 108-99, on Sunday afternoon, marking their fifth loss since play resumed.
Memphis, which had a 3.5-game lead for the final playoff spot headed into the bubble, officially guaranteed that there will be a play-in series for the eighth spot in the conference — opening the door for the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns to reach the postseason.
The Blazers and Spurs are just one game back of the Grizzlies, and the Suns — who are a perfect 5-0 since play resumed — are 1.5 games back.
“I’m not worried about no play-in game right now,” said Ja Morant, who dropped 17 points in the loss, via ESPN. “Our focus now is learning from our mistakes from this game against the Raptors and try to fix them when we go out and play Boston.”
The Raptors, who picked up their 50th win of the season, surged ahead just before halftime on Sunday and didn’t look back. They pushed their lead to 18 points early in the fourth quarter, too, after holding Memphis to just 17 points in the third.
Pascal Siakam led Toronto with 26 points while shooting 9-of-16 from the field. Norman Powell finished with 16 points off the bench, and Kyle Lowry added 15 points and eight assists. Dillon Brooks led Memphis with 25 points, and Grayson Allen added 20 off the bench.
How does the play-in series work?
The play-in game is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, and will take place between the 8-seed and 9-seed in the conference.
If the 8-seed wins the game, they will officially make it into the playoffs and take on the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening series.
If the 9-seed wins, the two teams will square off again on Sunday for a winner-take-all matchup for the final playoff spot.
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