Everything You Need to Know About the NBA Bubble Thus Far

The biggest question going into the final regular season games is who’s in and who’s out? The Eastern Conference has three teams in the running for the 7th and 8th seeds. While in the Western Conference, six teams are gunning for one spot with a second team looking to force a play-in tournament. Below, I’ll go through each “bubble team” in the NBA Bubble and offer predictions on where they will end up once the regular season concludes. Before we get into it though, let’s take a look at the rules for this unique postseason:

If the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, no play-in tournament will be necessary. The final playoff berth will simply go to the team with the eighth best record (regular-season games + seeding games).

But if the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, then we’ll have a battle for the final spot between those two teams.

The tournament will basically be a best-of-two series — where the No. 9 seed will have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot. 

– via NBA.com

Now, let’s look at the teams in the running and where they currently stand as of August 7th:

Eastern Conference

7. Brooklyn Nets (33-36)

8. Orlando Magic (32-38)

9. Washington Wizards (24-45), 8.5 games back

Western Conference

8. Memphis Grizzlies (33-37)

9. Portland Trailblazers (32-38), 1 game back

10. San Antonio Spurs (30-38), 2 games back

11. New Orleans Pelicans (30-39), 2.5 games back

12. Phoenix Suns (30-39), 2.5 games back

13. Sacramento Kings (29-40), 3.5 games back

We’ll start with the Eastern Conference…



5 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About the NBA Bubble Thus Far

  1. In the West, I’m hoping the Blazers pull out that 8 seed. Lakers vs Blazers would be a fun series to watch, more so than watching the struggling Grizzlies get man handled by LeBron n Co. I want what everyone wants in the West…Lakers vs Clippers in the Western Conference Finals!

    The East’s final 2 spots don’t matter either – Eastern Conference Semis are going to be legit – Bucks vs Pacers (my prediction) and Celtics vs Raptors (a “guaranteed“ series after yesterday’s matchup!)

    NBA playoffs are almost back, let’s go!

    1. I’m hoping we get Blazers/Lakers first round as well Mr. Bird. Despite their loss today, Blazers are still on track.

      Ooooo pickin’ Indiana over Miami huh? I can’t hate on that. TJ Warren is playing out of his mind!

      1. As it stands now, Heat v Pacers will be a good series – but I gotta go with the Pacers. No home court advantage for either team and the Pacers have been playing well in the bubble!

  2. I agree on the King’s. They are definitely “lacking” any real talent, and certainly their offense is just as atrocious as their defense. The King’s of 2002 would be ashamed.

    On that note….let’s not forget that on May 26, 2002 Robert Horry stepped into a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Lakers a one-point victory over the Sacramento Kings in game four of the Western Conference Finals, instantly becoming one of the most iconic scenes in the team’s illustrious history.

    I’m curious why that important detail was left out of this otherwise greatly written blog post.

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