Giannis Antetokounmpo’s suspension seriously impacts West playoffs chase
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been suspended for the team’s final NBA seeding game, which could have major implications in the Western Conference playoff chase.
The Portland Trail Blazers currently hold the No. 8 seed after Tuesday night’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Three teams — the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs — are all half a game back of the Rip City squad. Needless to say, things are crowded in the West and the quest for the play-in sports will go down the wire.
However, with Giannis’ suspension, things are set to become more interesting. After all, the Bucks play the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday afternoon. If the Grizzlies win, they are guaranteed a spot in the play-in series in the West.
The Grizzlies can also jump to the No. 8 if they win and the Trail Blazers lose, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
Milwaukee is playing Memphis, in a game Memphis has to win to qualify for the play-in tournament on Saturday. If Memphis wins, it gets in. Will be ninth seed if Portland wins; eighth seed if Portland loses. https://t.co/mNlLgnZ2rR
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 12, 2020
This obviously would be quite the treat for the Grizzlies, who fell to 1-6 in the NBA bubble following a loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
Nabbing the No. 8 seed would mean the Grizzlies would need just one win to advance to the standard playoff bracket, whereas the No. 9 seed needs two consecutive victories in order to grab the final playoff spot.
However, the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers are not the only NBA teams involved.
The Phoenix Suns have a chance to go undefeated for the restart if they defeat the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, though they will need help from at least one of the aforementioned teams.
The San Antonio Spurs are in the mix, too. But, like the Suns, they need a win and some help in order to advance to the NBA play-in series.
Regardless, the Grizzlies will hope to capitalize on their good fortune on Thursday with a win over a Bucks team sans Giannis Antetokounmpo.