LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – It's now official: There will be a play-in series to determine the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Memphis' 108-99 loss to Toronto on Sunday means that it's no longer possible for more than a four-game difference in the standings between the eighth- and ninth-place finishers in the West when the seeding game schedule ends later this week.
By the rules the NBA set for this season's restart, there had to be more than a four-game cushion for the No. 8 team to get the final playoff spot outright. The league decided to add the play-in series option for fairness, since about 14% of the regular-season schedule was eliminated because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Memphis remains alone in eighth place, even after Sunday's loss. No team has clinched a spot in the play-in series; the Grizzlies could have assured themselves of no worse than that had they beaten the Raptors on Sunday.
Game 1 of the play-in series will be Saturday, with Game 2 — if necessary — the following day. To advance and face the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, the eighth-place team will have to win one of the two games and the ninth-place finisher would have to go 2-0.
• Forward Jimmy Butler and guard Goran Dragic returned to practice with Miami. Butler has missed three games with a sore right foot and Dragic two with a sprained left ankle.
• Golden State forward Draymond Green was fined $50,000 for violating the league's anti-tampering rule with comments about Phoenix star guard Devin Booker.
"Get my man out of Phoenix," Green said Saturday during an appearance as an analyst for TNT. "It's not good for him. It's not good for his career."
Asked on-air if he was tampering, Green replied, "Maybe."
Portland 124, Philadelphia 121: Damian Lillard scored 51 points, helping the Trail Blazers beat the 76ers.
It was a day of redemption for the point guard. On Saturday, he missed a pair of free throws with 18.6 seconds to go and a three-pointer with 9.5 seconds left in a 122-117 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Toronto 108, Memphis 99: Pascal Siakam scored 26 points for the Raptors, who clinched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
San Antonio 122, New Orleans 113: DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points, and the Spurs dealt a big blow to the Pelicans' postseason hopes.
Oklahoma City 121, Washington 103: Rookie Darius Bazley scored a career-high 23 points, and the Thunder kept the Wizards the only winless team inside the NBA bubble.
Boston 122, Orlando 119 (OT): Gordon Hayward hit three free throws with 2:29 left in overtime, and the Celtics won their third game in a row.