NBA Playoff Picture 2021: Final West Bracket After Grizzlies Beat WarriorsMay 22, 2021
With Friday's 117-112 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center in the NBA play-in tournament, the Memphis Grizzlies have clinched the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference.
Memphis will face the No. 1-seeded Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs beginning Sunday at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Here's a look at the full Western Conference playoff matchups now that the bracket has been officially set.
2021 NBA Western Conference Playoff Bracket
No. 1 Utah Jazz vs. No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies
No. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers
No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas Mavericks
Western Conference Playoff Outlook
The results of the West's first play-in tournament may have helped the NBA ensure at least one of its marquee teams made the playoffs, with the Los Angeles Lakers locking up the No. 7 seed, but that won't be much of a comfort to the rest of the conference.
With final seeds locked in, the No. 1 Jazz and No. 2 Phoenix Suns can officially begin prepping for their first-round opponents.
Much of what kept the Lakers from securing a top-six seed in the West was injuries. With prolonged absences from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles went from contending for the No. 1 seed to fighting for its playoff life at the end of the regular season.
That could spell trouble for a young Suns team featuring Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges.
The steadying force of Chris Paul—who briefly entered the MVP conversation by averaging 16.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game—may be the best thing Phoenix has going for itself. CP3 knows James' and Davis' skill sets as well as anyone, and his playoff experience can help a relatively inexperienced roster stay calm.
Things should be a bit easier for the Jazz.
Utah swept Memphis in three games during the regular season, and the Jazz match up well with the Grizz. Rudy Gobert is able to post up on Jonas Valanciunas, while Donovan Mitchell can handle Ja Morant. Bojan Bogdanovic is likely to guard Jaren Jackson Jr.
That doesn't mean the series is a virtual lock for the Jazz. Memphis won even though Golden State had home-court advantage Friday, and so Utah needs to prepare for the Grizz to put up a fight.
Los Angeles is more likely to hang with the Suns than Memphis is to go six games with the Jazz. But the experience could help force the young Grizzlies team's development into overdrive.
One thing is for sure: The play-in tournament was nothing short of a success this year. And it doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.