Thursday night was the deciding night for four NBA teams on whether they’ll be leaving the NBA bubble or having one more chance to play in the postseason. The Portland Trailblazers found themselves in a win or go home situation, and after a missed buzzer-beater the Blazers locked in the play-in game for Saturday.
Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers beat the Brooklyn Nets 134-133. Following a missed Carmelo Anthony three-pointer to ice the game, Nets Forward Caris LeVert found himself one on one with C.J. McCollum with seconds left to decide the fate of the Terry Stotts coached franchise. LeVert’s step back two-pointer from the foul line extended hit back rim and bounced out as time expired.
Lillard had another fantastic outing with 42 points and 12 assists. McCollum added in 25 points and Jusuf Nurkic with 22 points and 10 boards.
Coming into the game, the Blazers owned the 8th seed, but because the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns won earlier that day, the Blazers had to win or get sent home. The Grizzlies locked in their Play-in game appearance with the win, but the Blazers game decided whether they would go into the play-in game as the 8th seed or the 9th seed.
Potential Rookie of the year Ja Morant will now face superstar point guard Damian Lillard to claim the last slot in the Western Conference playoffs to face the Los Angeles Lakers. The Blazers as the current 8th seed has the advantage over Memphis. The Grizzlies will have to beat the Blazers twice to earn the 8th seed, but if the Blazers win just one game against Memphis they own the 8th slot and will make the playoffs.