We finally have our “Bottom Five” in the West. These are the teams who no longer have a chance to enter the Play-In Tournament. Do not feel bad for some of these teams. All they did was increase their chances of landing Victor Wembanyama in the upcoming NBA Draft. Let us look back and see how or when these teams were eliminated from the Playoff race.
San Antonio Spurs
Elimination Date: Last Week of September 2022
Last September, coach Gregg Popovich was being interviewed, and he clearly said that no one should be going to Las Vegas with the thought of betting on them. He knew it was over even before the season began. Well, we were warned, so their place in the standings should not surprise us at all. It was a long and painful season that saw the Spurs go on a 16-game losing streak early this year.
Elimination Date: Last Week of January 2023
Back in January, the Rockets were relieved about ending their 13-game losing streak, but something else was bothering them. The hole they were in was too deep to climb out of. Their record at that time was 10-36, and it was already apparent that they would no longer compete for a Playoff spot. To make things worse, they went on another long losing streak. How long? Try 11 games.
Portland Trail Blazers
Elimination Date: Last Week of March 2023
The Blazers will miss the postseason for the second straight year. Records will show they were eliminated when they lost back-to-back games against the Sacramento Kings. It was really the week before those Sacramento games where the squad changed course. The team was floating around the 13th spot in the standings when they started resting regular-rotation players due to various injuries.
Elimination Date: First Week of April 2023
The Jazz will not be in the postseason for the first time in six seasons. It is easy to say that losing Donovan Mitchell was the main reason for this, but that might not be the case. The Jazz had a fast start, and fans thought they were up to something. Postseason hopes were alive around Salt Lake City, and then the All-Star break happened. For some reason, the losses started to pile up after Utah hosted the All-Star Game.
Elimination Date: April 7, 2023
Before their game against the Chicago Bulls, the Mavericks had a chance to grab the tenth and final spot of the Play-In Tournament. All they had to do was win their last two games and hope for an Oklahoma City Thunder loss. Something shocking happened before the game, though; the team decided to rest most of their players. They also announced that Luka Doncic would play but only in the first quarter. In other words, the Mavericks were giving up on the season and decided to focus on the NBA Draft.
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