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Updated Western Conference Playoff Picture with 2 Games Remaining

Apr 2, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III (25) celebrates after scoring a basket during the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

On the Suns’ off day, the New Orleans Pelicans clinched a 135-123 victory over the Sacramento Kings, further shaping the Western Conference playoff landscape.

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With their Thursday win, the Pelicans now maintain a solid one-game lead over the Suns for the final direct playoff spot. As it stands, if the season were to end today, the Suns would be relegated to the play-in tournament, facing one or two crucial single-game matchups rather than participating in a best-of-seven series.

However, there’s a silver lining for the Suns: they hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Pelicans. This means if both teams finish the regular season with identical records, the Suns would clinch the 6th seed, pushing the Pelicans into the play-in tournament.

Looking ahead, the Pelicans will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday and wrap up their season against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

As for the Suns, they are on the road against the Kings on Friday then on the road against the Timberwolves on Sunday.

For Phoenix to secure the 6th seed and avoid the play-in, one of two scenarios must unfold:

  1. The Suns win both of their remaining games, and the Pelicans lose at least one.
  2. The Suns win at least one game, and the Pelicans lose both.

The only scenario in which the Suns could finish lower than the 7th seed—still within the play-in tournament—is if they lose both of their games and either the Lakers or the Kings win their remaining games.

Buckle up for a dramatic finish to the weekend in the Western Conference standings.


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