The Utah Jazz’s first-round playoff opponent has been narrowed down to two teams.
When the Jazz open the 2020-21 playoffs at Vivint Arena on Sunday, they’ll either be facing the Golden State Warriors or Memphis Grizzlies.
The Los Angeles Lakers secured the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference on Wednesday night by beating the Golden State Warriors, who will face the Grizzlies on Friday to determine the eighth and final seed and the Jazz’s opponent.
The Warriors led early, but a third-quarter surge brought the Lakers back into the game and the contest was neck-and-neck throughout the remainder of the night.
Then, with 58 seconds left to play, LeBron James hit a 33-foot 3-pointer that ended up being the game-winning shot with the Lakers winning 103-100.
Earlier in the night, the ninth seed Grizzlies beat the 10th place San Antonio Spurs in the first Western Conference play-in tournament game, 100-96, ending the Spurs’ hopes of contending for a playoff spot.
Dillon Brooks (24 points), and Jonas Valanciunas (23), led the Grizzlies in keeping their playoff hopes alive. While the Spurs came back from a pretty massive early-game deficit, the Grizzlies seemed to have the game under control.
But, it was the final game of the night that was the most compelling and the more anticipated matchup. No matter who won, the Warriors-Lakers game was going to go into Friday’s final play-in game as a heavy favorite.
The Lakers will face the No. 2. Phoenix Suns in the first round.
The Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, will almost certainly be expected to beat the Grizzlies, with Curry playing at an MVP level through the latter part of the season. If they do in fact secure the eighth seed, the Jazz will have their hands full in the opening round.
Jazz fans will be rooting for an upset in the hopes of facing the Grizzlies, who the Jazz swept 3-0 during the regular season, rather than the Warriors, who won the regular-season series against Jazz 2-1.