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Sport Wild Wild West: Mavericks and Trail Blazers clinch key tiebreakers in standings logjam

10:40  08 may  2021
10:40  08 may  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers building momentum in preparation for tough stretch run

  Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers building momentum in preparation for tough stretch run Breaking a 11-game season-high streak, Lillard scored at least 30 points for the first time since April 2 as the Trail Blazers beat the Nets 128-109 in Brooklyn for the third straight victory — all coming with an average winning margin of 20.3 points.This was Portland's third straight victory, all on the road, after a 11-game stretch where they only recorded two wins. Thus, making this their longest win streak since they won four straight at the end of March.

It was a packed slate on Saturday and 11 of the Western Conference's 15 teams were taking the floor.

That meant, irrespective of who wins, there was going to be a ton of impact on the logjam in the Conference standings.

Here's a quick look at the biggest winners and losers while looking at the upcoming schedule for the teams in question.

Play-In Tournament: Dallas & Portland clinch key tiebreakers

Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks took care of business as they hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There were plenty of reasons to celebrate in the 110-90 win with Doncic passing 5,000 career points and head coach Rick Carlisle rising up the all-time winningest coaches leaderboard.

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However, given their position on the standings, the biggest takeaway from the contest would be clinching the division title - their fourth in franchise history and first since 2009-10. Sealing up the division title gives Dallas the tiebreaker if they were to slip into a three-way tie with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers.

If it isn't a three-way tie, the Mavericks do hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers. The Trail Blazers were the other big winner from Saturday.

Defeating a shorthanded Lakers at the Moda Center, which welcomed fans for the first time this season, Portland has clinched the tiebreaker against the Lakers. The 106-101 victory was powered by Damian Lillard's 38 points and seven assists, a performance that helped the Trail Blazers withstand Anthony Davis' 36-point night.

adhesive strong: Mavericks win against Washington

 adhesive strong: Mavericks win against Washington Maximilian Kleber has celebrated an important victory with the Dallas Mavericks in the race for a play-off square in the NBA. © Provided by sport1.de adhesive strong: Mavericks win against Washington Maximilian Kleber has celebrated an important victory with the Dallas Mavericks in the race for a play-off square in the North American basketball profiliga NBA.

The Lakers' downward spiral continues, as they have won lost eight of their last 10.

The Trail Blazers would be planning to simply win more and hope there's no three-way tie because then they could climb to as high as the fifth seed as they also hold the tiebreaker against the Mavericks courtesy of their 2-1 head-to-head season series.

Remaining opponents:

Mavericks: Cleveland, Memphis, New Orleans, Toronto, Minnesota

Trail Blazers: San Antonio, Houston, Utah, Phoenix, Denver

Lakers: Phoenix, New York, Houston, Indiana, New Orleans

Status quo for Utah, Phoenix

The Suns and Jazz, competing for the best record in the league - the top seed in the Western Conference, came into Saturday games separated by one and they stayed that way with both registering wins.

Devin Booker: Pair of clutch free-throws lift Phoenix Suns over Portland Trail Blazers in regular season classic

  Devin Booker: Pair of clutch free-throws lift Phoenix Suns over Portland Trail Blazers in regular season classic The Phoenix Suns outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season classic. The game came down to Devin Booker being able to sink two clutch free throws in the final seconds, with the Suns holding on to hope of finishing with the league's best record.Trailing 117-116 with 4.4 seconds to play, Booker drove to the right side of the lane and pulled up for a mid-range jumper. Portland Trail Blazers' guard Norman Powell was called for a foul on the shot, sending Booker to the line. Portland head coach Terry Stotts challenged the play, but the call would stand, leaving the game in Booker's hands.

For the shorthanded Jazz, playing without their starting line-up in Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic went off. In the 127-120 win, the Croatian finished with a career-high 48 against the Denver Nuggets in a rematch of last year's thrilling seven-game first-round playoff matchup.

The loss puts Denver one game behind the LA Clippers for the third seed with each team having five to go. All the Nuggets need to do is finish with the same number of wins because they hold the tiebreaker against the Clippers.

Meanwhile in Phoenix, it was a tight contest but the Suns ran away with it late. Over a 10-minute stretch in the second half, they seized control with a dominating 40-16 run to eventually win 128-105.

Remaining opponents:

Suns: Lakers, Golden State, Portland, San Antonio, San Antonio

LeBron James battles soreness in injured ankle as Lakers fall in standings following loss to Raptors

  LeBron James battles soreness in injured ankle as Lakers fall in standings following loss to Raptors LeBron James was in the locker room much before the final buzzer sounded on the Lakers' 121-114 loss to the Raptors, their sixth defeat in their last seven games. The defending champions have now dropped to sixth in the West and face the possibility of participating in the Play-in tournament.Unlock live games with NBA League Pass. Get annual plans now at 50% off our start-of-season price.

Jazz: Houston, Golden State, Portland, Oklahoma City, Sacramento

San Antonio create separation

They were playing some tough opponents but their free-fall came at the wrong time. However, Saturday helped the Spurs get back on track and ensure there is some distance to the New Orleans Pelicans for the 10th and final Play-In seed.

With seven players scoring in double figures, led by Dejounte Murray's 22 points and seven assists, San Antonio defeat the Sacramento Kings 113-104 and snapped their five-game skid.

With the Pelicans, who were set to be without Zion Williamson for the remainder of the season, losing earlier in the day in Philadelphia, the Spurs hold a two-game lead for the 10th spot with six games to play while New Orleans got five more in the schedule.

Remaining opponents:

Spurs: Portland, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, New York, Phoenix, Phoenix

Pelicans: Charlotte, Memphis, Dallas, Golden State, Los Angeles

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Sunday, May 2 – NBA scores, updates, news, stats, highlights and top fantasy performers .
There are 10 games of NBA action on the slate, highlighted by the return of LaMelo Ball, a showdown between No. 1 picks in Zion Williamson and Anthony Edwards and several games with playoff implications.Following along for live updates, highlights and more.

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