The Orlando bubble has four wins and the Phoenix Suns are in the hunt to gain a play-in spot. That is not going to be fast. The Portland Trail Blazers are extending the table ahead of Phoenix, the Memphis Grizzlies will start their slide, and the Rest in the table are the Pelicans, Spurs and Kings.
The Suns are also on the eight-game seeding schedule alongside the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks. When teams tinker and/or rest for the playoffs, there will be additional uncertainty involved in the schedules of each of the teams in the chase for the eighth playoff spot.
Reminder: The eighth seed will defeat the ninth in a play-in tournament if at the conclusion of the seeding games, the teams are within 4.0 games of each other. It’s a double-elimination format for the eighth seed, which means it will have to lose twice to the No. 9 seed in two games to forfeit its playoff spot.
Four of the No. 8 teams are in action Friday and here’s a peek at the standings. But before those findings make it pointless, let’s check the interwebs for odds with the Suns:
The Blazers had ended the day’s games at the end of Thursday night with a victory over a Denver Nuggets team that pulled its main players late in a tight contest — and was still without a handful of starters and rotational guys.
Thanks to some pestering from our John Gambadoro, Kevin Pelton from ESPN performed some simulations to place the chances of the Suns at 8 percent at a play-in.
If not for those Nuggets, this would have been higher.
Zach Kram of The Ringer
The playoff chances of Phoenix — which is to win the eighth seed to face the Los Angeles Lakers No. 1 seed — are 4 percent. Not so bad.
Additionally, Kram breaks down the race by game for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
A 5 percent chance to face the Grizzlies is the most likely one for the Suns.
Kram also rates an 8-9 matchup between Portland-Phoenix at 3 percent odds and a 1 percent shot at the same opposition with the Suns holding the higher seed.
FiveThirtyEight has only playoff chances, and through their calculations, the Suns have a 5 percent chance of making it.