Harrison Barnes’ stay in the NBA bubble has come to an end for this season. Three other Tar Heels are fighting each other for their bubble survival. Five more Carolina alums are safely into the NBA playoffs.
Such is the NBA in 2020.
The sad news first. The Kings (along with the Pelicans) were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday night courtesy of the Trail Blazers win over the 76ers. The loss ends Harrison Barnes’ 2019-20 season. Unfortunately, the dismissal from the bubble will be rather Bachelor-esque. After the Kings’ final game takes place on Thursday, they will shower, be given a meal, and drive straight to the airport. The same treatment will befall the also eliminated Pelicans and Wizards.
The Trail Blazers (Nassir Little), Suns (Cameron Johnson), and Spurs (Tyler Zeller) are all currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Those teams currently sit firmly on the playoff bubble. In fact, can we call that the “bubble bubble”? I’ll pause while you groan at my awful joke…
In all seriousness, the Grizzlies hold a slight lead over the other three teams in contention. Regrettably, only one of these Tar Heels can make the playoffs, at the expense of the other two. It’s also possible that the Grizzlies hold onto the eight slot and neither Little, Johnson, nor Zeller play in the 2020 postseason.
Currently the Grizzlies are a half-game ahead of the Trail Blazers and one game ahead of both the Suns and Spurs. The Grizzlies have two (seemingly difficult) games left (Celtics, Bucks). As for the contenders, the Trail Blazers have two games (Mavericks, Nets), the Suns have two games (76ers, Mavericks), and the Spurs have two games as well (Rockets, Jazz). Unfortunately, none of these four teams play one another. That would make things really interesting.
Whichever teams finish eighth and ninth, they will have a play-in mini tournament (since the ninth place team will finish within four games of eighth). The play-in tournament is a potential two game series. The eighth place team just needs to win one to hold onto their spot. The ninth place team needs to win both in order to advance.
And congratulations to whomever does end up claiming the eighth seed. Waiting for you on the other end or LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers
As previously mentioned, five Tar Heels are firmly in the NBA playoffs.
Danny Green (Lakers) and Marvin Williams (Bucks) both have one seeds wrapped up. Tony Bradley and Ed Davis (Jazz) are sitting at sixth in the West, just one game ahead of Justin Jackson’s Mavericks.
The final “seeding games” will wrap-up on Friday, August 14 and the first round of the playoffs will commence on Monday, August 17.
Stay with Sports Illustrated’s AllTarHeels as we continue to update you on what’s going on for the NBA Tar Heels throughout the rest of the season.
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