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The race to the 2021 NBA playoffs is inching closer and closer, and the battle for seeding remains as tight as ever.
Only three games separate the No. 6 and No. 10 seeds in the Western Conference standings with less than a month until the postseason, which begins May 18 with the Play-In Tournament followed by the first round on May 22.
The Portland Trail Blazers (34-28) sit in firm position for a playoff spot, currently holding the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference -- a half-game behind the Dallas Mavericks and two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers. Portland has just a 2.5-game lead over the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, with the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors closing in as well.
So, where do things currently stand for Terry Stotts' club, and what may lie ahead? Here's what you need to know about the Trail Blazers' push for the playoffs.
What is the format for the 2021 NBA Playoffs?
The NBA Play-In Tournament is a new addition to the 2021 NBA season. Here's how it works: The No. 7 through No. 10 seeds in both the Western Conference and Eastern Conference qualify for the Play-In Tournament. The top six seeds in each conference automatically advance to the traditional playoff bracket.
The Play-In Tournament begins May 18 and consists of two rounds for each conference with the following format:
No. 7 seed vs. No. 8 seed (winner earns No. 7 seed; loser to Round 2)
No. 9 seed vs. No. 10 seed (winner to Round 2; loser eliminated)
Loser of 7-8 vs. Winner of 9-10 (winner earns No. 8 seed; loser eliminated)
Once the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds are decided for each conference, the first round will begin May 22 with the traditional format: seven-game series featuring the 1-8, 2-7, 3-6 and 4-5 matchups.
Where are the Blazers in the Western Conference standings?
The Blazers currently own the No. 7 seed in West, behind the Lakers and Mavericks, and just ahead of the Grizzlies. The Utah Jazz (45-17), Phoenix Suns (44-18), LA Clippers (43-21) and Denver Nuggets (41-21) hold the top four seeds.
GB From No. 1
5. Los Angeles Lakers
6. Dallas Mavericks
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. Memphis Grizzlies
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Golden State Warriors
Who would the Blazers play in the first round?
If the season ended today, the Blazers would be in the Play-In Tournament as the No. 7 seed. Portland would host the Grizzlies in the 7-8 game, and a win would set up a battle with the Suns.
Here are the West matchups if the season ended today and the higher seeds won each play-in game:
No. 1 Utah Jazz
No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies
No. 2 Phoenix Suns
No. 7 Portland Trail Blazers
No. 3 LA Clippers
No. 6 Dallas Mavericks
No. 4 Denver Nuggets
No. 5 Los Angeles Lakers
What is the Blazers' remaining schedule?
The Blazers have 10 regular-season games left. Six of Portland's final 10 games are against Western Conference opponents and four games are against teams currently ahead of them in the standings.
Here are Portland's next five games:
Friday, April 30
Sunday, May 2
Monday, May 3
Wednesday, May 5
Friday, May 7
What are the Blazers' playoff odds?
The Blazers currently have +6600 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.
Those odds are 12th best in the NBA.
We'll update this article as the postseason nears, so stay tuned for the latest on the Blazers' playoff chances.
Logan Reardon and James Best contributed to this story.