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If the NBA never adopted the play-in tournament in 2020, the Los Angeles Clippers would have been the team tasked with trying to upset the No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. Instead, it was the New Orleans Pelicans, who the Suns eliminated on Thursday.
If the Dallas Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz on Thursday, the last remaining first-round playoff series will be the one between the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Grizzlies were the favorites going into the series, but the Timberwolves have made it an exhilarating series. In fact, according to this week’s survey, 54% of NBA fans thinks it’s the best remaining first-round series.
The series between the Philadelphia 76res and Toronto Raptors would have had a case if the Raptors forced a Game 7 on Thursday, but the Sixers did everything they could to make sure Doc Rivers didn’t have another blown 3-1 lead on his record. There’s always next series, Doc.
Whoever wins between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves will go on to face the Golden State Warriors and that series will probably be the most exciting of the Conference Semifinals, at least in the Western Conference.