There are only six games on the schedule as we enter the final Wednesday of the 2020-21 NBA regular season. The NBA playoffs and play-in tournament are fast approaching and the picture for the East and West is starting to take shape a bit. There’s still a ton that needs to be decided before the play-in tournament gets going on May 18. Let’s take a look at some notable matchups on Wednesday night and then go over clinching scenarios.
Clinching scenarios for May 12 via NBA.com
Atlanta clinches a playoff spot with a win OR a loss by Boston.
Dallas clinches a playoff spot with a win AND a loss by Lakers.
New York clinches a playoff spot with a loss by Boston.
Portland clinches a playoff spot with a win AND a loss by Lakers.
Portland Trail Blazers (40-29) vs. Utah Jazz (50-19), 9:30 p.m. ET ESPN
The Blazers are in 5th place in the West and are tied with the Dallas Mavericks. Portland can avoid the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round by claiming the 5-seed and playing the Denver Nuggets, so this game is big. The Jazz are kind of coasting toward the end, not worrying too much about the 1-seed in the conference. Utah is 2.0 games clear of the Phoenix Suns for first place entering Wednesday. One win should seal up first place in the West.
Washington Wizards (32-27) vs. Atlanta Hawks (38-31), 7:00 p.m. ET ESPN
The Wizards were unable to come away with a win over the Hawks on Monday night, losing 125-124. Washington is expected to be without Bradley Beal (hamstring) for a second straight game. The Wizards have yet to clinch a play-in tournament berth, but can do so with a win against ATL. The Hawks jumped up to the 4-seed after the Knicks took an L on Tuesday night. If things ended today, the Hawks would face the Miami Heat in the 4-5 matchup in the first round. There are a lot of moving parts. A win here would help the Hawks sure up homecourt in the first round.