The Memphis Grizzlies officially clinched one of the two spots in the Western Conference play-in with their win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday afternoon.
The Grizzlies went into the Orlando bubble as the No. 8 seed in the West, although injuries and not playing up to standard, going 2-6 in their eight seeding games to limp into the postseason.
Because of that, they are now in danger of being the No. 9 team in the West as opposed seeded eighth. The Portland Trail Blazers play the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night with a chance to clinch eighth place in the Western Conference.
If they are able to do that, then the Grizzlies would have to defeat them twice in a row, beginning Saturday.
The Trail Blazers are in danger of missing the postseason altogether, however, if they lose to the Nets. The reason for that is the Phoenix Suns defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday afternoon as well, finishing 8-0 in their seeding games to work their way back into the postseason picture.
They would clinch the No. 9 spot if Portland loses, with the Grizzlies finishing eighth. If Portland wins, which is likely with the way Damian Lillard has been playing, then the Suns’ Cinderella bubble story will come to an end.
Another team that was in the mix was the San Antonio Spurs, although with the Grizzlies and Suns both winning, they were officially eliminated. It snapped the Spurs’ remarkable run of 22 consecutive playoff appearances.
The reason all of this is relevant to the Los Angeles Lakers is because they are the No. 1 seed in the West, meaning they will play whoever wins the play-in games in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite being the top seed, the Lakers are the only playoff team that doesn’t yet know their first-round opponent.
Vogel not overlooking first-round opponent
The Lakers are a combined 7-2 against the Grizzlies, Suns and Trail Blazers this season, so regardless of who they play, they will be heavily favored in their first-round matchup.
Despite that, Vogel is not overlooking their potential opponent as both the Suns and Trail Blazers, in particular, are playing some great basketball.
“You know I won’t go there. I will say all these teams that are competing for that eighth spot, I don’t believe we’re going to get a typical eight seed in that matchup,” he said. “The West is loaded, there’s a lot of good teams in there, and we’re going to get a team with some serious firepower.”