The race to the playoffs of the NBA in the Association of the West was further tightened on Tuesday in Orlando, because of a win from 134 to 131 of the Trail Blazers of Portland at the expense of the Dallas Mavericks.
Four teams are within a game of variance, so that there remains only one more game to play before the playoffs.
For a second consecutive game, Damian Lillard has scored more than 50 points, he who has amassed 61 this time. The American has also added eight assists and five rebounds.
Thanks to this victory, the Trail Blazers of Portland took control of the eighth rank, a half-game ahead of the Grizzlies to Memphis, the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs. A victory for Portland in its last game, against the nets in Brooklyn, it would ensure a place in the mini-series involving the teams ranked in eighth and ninth positions.
The team that will start this series with the eighth position will be assigned to a lead of 1 to 0 in a “two of three”.
The Grizzlies have escaped the eighth rank because of one defeat from 122 to 107 in the hands of the Boston Celtics.
Despite a performance of 26 points, 13 assists and four rebounds Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have slipped to ninth in the West.
If they emerge victorious in their final duel, against the Milwaukee Bucks, they will be insured to participate in the mini-series that will allow winners to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first knockout round.
For their part, the Suns have remained unbeaten since the return to the NBA game. They have won a seventh consecutive game, this time by the score of 130 to 117 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
These latter were deprived of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, both injured.
Devin Booker has been the spark plug of the Suns, scoring 35 points.
If they wish to extend their season, the Suns must win their last game against the Mavericks and hope for a defeat of the Grizzlies or Trail Blazers.
Finally, the Spurs stayed alive thanks to their win from 123 to 105 at the expense of the Houston Rockets, but their chances of qualifying for the mini-series are slim.
In effect, they will have to not only defeat the Utah Jazz in their last game, but they will have to expect losses of at least two of the three other teams involved in the race.