NBA's Top Stats, Best Highlights, Updated Playoff Picture from Aug. 8 Results

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2020

The Pacers upended the Lakers on Saturday night.
The Pacers upended the Lakers on Saturday night.Kim Klement/Associated Press

Only one postseason spot remains in the NBA playoff race, but a Portland Trail Blazers loss means the Western Conference isn't decided quite yet.

Early on Saturday, the Los Angeles Clippers upended the Blazers. Combined with the Phoenix Suns' win over the Miami Heat, the West is likely headed to a play-in tournament. The lingering question, though, is whether it will be Portland, Phoenix, the San Antonio Spurs or the New Orleans Pelicans.

But as that resolution waits in the future, we're reviewing what happened in Saturday's action around the league.

                

Los Angeles Clippers 122, Portland Trail Blazers 117

CJ McCollum (POR): 29 PTS, 8 AST

Damian Lillard (POR): 22 PTS, 5 AST

Paul George (LAC): 21 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST

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Four players eclipsed 20 points for the Blazers, but a balanced offensive effort carried the Clippers past Portland.

Paul George paced L.A. with 21 points, and five more contributed at least 12. Rodney McGruder drilled a go-ahead three in the closing minute, and the Clippers sealed the victory with a pair of free throws from both JaMychal Green and Landry Shamet.

The loss stung Portland, however.

"We've got to do a better job of executing and putting them away earlier," CJ McCollum said, per Joe Freeman of Oregon Live.

Although the Blazers are still in a respectable spot to force a play-in tournament, with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Spurs, Pelicans and Suns each within a game of Portland.

                  

Denver Nuggets 134, Utah Jazz 132 (2OT)

Nikola Jokic (DEN): 30 PTS, 11 REB, 7 AST

Jamal Murray (DEN): 23 PTS, 12 REB, 8 AST

Donovan Mitchell (UTA): 35 PTS, 8 AST

The Utah Jazz held a 14-point halftime lead, but the Denver Nuggets fought back to earn an overtime win in this key seeding game.

Nikola Jokic scored 30 points, and both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. added 23 for the Nuggets. With the victory, Denver moved two games ahead of the Houston Rockets and three in front of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Jazz.

Since only three games remain in the regular-season portion of the bubble, Denver finds itself in a great position to secure the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. And best of all for Denver, Murray returned from injury, played beyond his expected role and felt comfortable with it.

"I was only supposed to play 22," he said. "It's cool. I like challenges and it feels a lot better now that we got the win."

               

Indiana Pacers 116, Los Angeles Lakers 111

T.J. Warren (IND): 39 PTS, 5 REB

LeBron James (LAL): 31 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST

Malcolm Brogdon (IND): 24 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB

This is kind of getting ridiculous, right? It's about to rename the bubble the "T.J. Qwarrenntine."

T.J. Warren has eclipsed the 30-point mark four times in five games, and his 39 points against the Los Angeles Lakers are the second-most of this torrid stretch. He knocked down five three-pointers, and the Indiana Pacers collectively buried 15 of their 33 three-point attempts.

"I just feel like I'm in a groove offensively, defensively," Warren said after the win. "I feel like as a team we're grooving right now. We've just got to keep it up."

Fortunately for the Lakers, the result didn't affect their standing because they have clinched the No. 1 seed in the West. But the Pacers moved into a tie with the Miami Heat for No. 4 in the East.

                

Phoenix Suns 119, Miami Heat 112

Devin Booker (PHO): 35 PTS, 6 AST

Tyler Herro (MIA): 25 PTS, 10 AST, 8 REB

Duncan Robinson (MIA): 25 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST

Someone cool down the Suns, or some other bad joke.

Pun not intended but unavoidable, Phoenix has emerged as the hottest team in the bubble. Even without a three-pointer from Devin Booker amid his 35-point performance, the Suns outlasted the Heat and improved to 5-0 in Florida.

"I think this bubble opportunity was big for us, and we're taking advantage of it," Booker told reporters.

Phoenix closes the regular season with games against the Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks. If the Suns can jump San Antonio and New Orleans in the standings, they will have a shot to bounce the Grizzlies before the playoffs officially begin.

                

Dallas Mavericks 136, Milwaukee Bucks 132 (OT)

Luka Doncic (DAL): 36 PTS, 19 AST, 14 REB

Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL): 34 PTS, 13 REB, 5 BLK

Brook Lopez (MIL): 34 PTS, 7 REB

Luka Doncic is just absurd. We can start there and move on, but it's a necessary point to mention.

Dorian Finney-Smith provided seven points and an assist to carry the Mavericks past the top-seeded Bucks. He finished with a career-high 27 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, complementing Doncic's remarkable triple-double.

Most importantly for the Mavs, they stayed within two games of the Jazz for the sixth spot in the West. Dallas is headed for a matchup with either the Clippers or Nuggets in the first round.

As for Milwaukee, the loss is more disappointing than devastating. The Bucks have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the East.

                

Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.