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NBA playoff picture roundup: Morant outduels Edwards in Grizz win

We recap how the playoff picture shifted following Wednesday night’s NBA games.

Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves defends against Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first quarter of the game at Target Center on May 5, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

There are nine games in the NBA on Wednesday’s schedule as we head toward the end of the regular season. There are a few big games to monitor, including the Phoenix Suns in a tight one with the Atlanta Hawks. The Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks are both in similar standing in their respective conferences and are jockeying for position in the playoff picture. Here we’re going to recap the important games from Wednesday and go over how it impacts the playoff picture in each conference.

Hawks end Suns winning streak

The Hawks ended the Suns five-game winning streak with a 135-103 victory. Atlanta pulled away in the second half and somehow shot 63 percent from the floor against what is supposed to be one of the better defenses in the NBA. The Hawks also shot 50 percent from distance. Phoenix is back down to 2nd in the West, 0.5 game back of the Jazz. The Hawks are 1.0 game behind the New York Knicks, but that could change by the end of the night.

Ja drops 37 to help Grizz take down T-Wolves

Morant finished with 37 points and 10 dimes in the 139-135 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (no this game did not go to overtime). The Memphis Grizzlies temporarily jump the Golden State Warriors for the 8-seed in the West by 0.5 games. Anthony Edwards maybe got a bump in the Rookie of the Year odds race. LaMelo Ball is a heavy favorite, but Edwards just dropped 42 points on an insane shooting night: 17-of-22 from the floor, 8-of-9 from downtown. He also had 7 assists and 6 rebounds in 38 minutes.

Blazers blowout Cavaliers without Powell

With the win, the Portland Trail Blazers move to 0.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks in the West standings. If things ended today, the Blazers would be the 7-seed and stuck in the play-in tournament. Portland’s next game is this Friday against the Lakers, a huge game for both sides. Norman Powell missed the game due to injury and the Blazers were still fine without him. Dame had a big game with 32 points and 9 assists.

Kemba helps Celtics demolish Magic

This was never really going to be a game and it never was a game. The Magic have been ravaged by injuries and are looking for better draft position anyway after being eliminated. Boston into 6th place in the East at 35-31, tied with the Miami Heat. The Hawks could help or hurt their cause with a win over the Suns. We’ll see what happens there.