NBA playoff tracker: Lakers slide one step closer to the play-in tournament

·4 min read

Yahoo Sports will keep you updated nightly on the NBA playoff race during the last two weeks of the regular season. Check back daily for the latest movement in the standings, what to watch for and teams securing their 2020-21 playoff berths.

Thursday's standings

Eastern Conference

1. Philadelphia 76ers (45-21)

2. Brooklyn Nets (43-24, 2.5 GB)

3. Milwaukee Bucks (42-24, 3 GB)

4. New York Knicks (37-29, 8 GB)

5. Atlanta Hawks (37-31, 9 GB)

6. Boston Celtics (35-31, 10 GB)

Play-in tournament

7. Miami Heat (35-31, 10 GB)

8. Charlotte Hornets (32-34, 13 GB)

9. Indiana Pacers (31-35, 14 GB)

10. Washington Wizards (31-36, 14.5 GB)

On the playoff bubble

11. Chicago Bulls (27-39, 18 GB)

11. Toronto Raptors (27-40, 18.5 GB)

Western Conference

1. Utah Jazz (48-18)

2. Phoenix Suns (47-19, 1 GB)

3. Los Angeles Clippers (45-22, 3.5 GB)

4. Denver Nuggets (44-22, 4 GB)

5. Dallas Mavericks (38-28, 10 GB)

6. Los Angeles Lakers (37-29, 11 GB)

Play-in tournament

7. Portland Trail Blazers (37-29, 11 GB)

8. Golden State Warriors (34-33, 14.5 GB)

9. Memphis Grizzlies (33-33, 15 GB)

10. San Antonio Spurs (31-34, 16.5 GB)

On the playoff bubble

11. New Orleans Pelicans (30-36, 18 GB)

12. Sacramento Kings (29-37, 19 GB)

Game of the night: Lakers lose Anthony Davis again in loss to Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 06: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers attempts a pass between Andre Drummond #2 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter at Staples Center on May 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis played only nine minutes before he left with back spasms. (Harry How/Getty Images)

We know this wasn't the most entertaining game of the evening but the outcome and what happened during it might have an impact on the playoff standings. In the first quarter of Thursday's 118-94 loss to the Clippers, Lakers forward Anthony Davis appeared to roll his ankle.

He would play just nine minutes before he was ruled out of the game with ... back spasms.

Davis escaped serious injury and he will attempt to play in Friday's crucial game on the road against Portland.

Los Angeles will be without LeBron James, Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker. A loss to the Trail Blazers would slide the Lakers to the seventh seed and in danger of having to compete in the play-in tournament.

Performance of the night: Kyrie Irving

Brooklyn's losing streak hit four games on Thursday despite a season-high 45 points from Kyrie Irving in a 113-109 loss against Dallas. The guard also had five rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks while picking up the slack for Kevin Durant, who struggled with only 20 points and failed to make a three-pointer.

It's the eighth 40-point game for Irving on the Nets, tied for second-most in franchise history. The Nets skid is coming at the worst possible time as they are now 2.5 games behind Philadelphia and tied in the loss column with Milwaukee.

What to watch Friday

Denver vs. Utah (9:00 p.m. ET)

Facundo Campazzo #7 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles past Malachi Flynn #8 of the Toronto Raptors at Ball Arena on April 29, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. 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 Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)
Facundo Campazzo is not your average rookie. (Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)

Both the Nuggets and Jazz are looking to secure playoff seeding with the regular season concluding next weekend. Denver has been flip-flopping with the Los Angeles Clippers for the third seed in the West but holds the tiebreaker over Los Angeles in case both teams finish tied with the same record. Despite losing Jamal Murray for the season with a torn ACL, the Nuggets continue to win thanks in part to rookie point guard Facundo Campazzo. In his last two games, the 30-year-old Argentinian has recorded five steals.

Utah is trying to hold off Phoenix for not only the top seed in the West but for the best record in the NBA and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Donovan Mitchell continues to be out after suffering a right ankle injury on April 16. The five-day break from the end of the regular season to the start of the playoffs could be crucial in ensuring that Mitchell has time to recover for the first round.

One last thing

This is somehow more impressive than Russell Westbrook's recent triple-double run:

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