Africa on the playoffs race

The NBA playoffs for the season 2020/2021 will start within three weeks, and the struggle is still tough to know who will participate and be part of it. If a few squads already said goodbye to a next episode (Houston, Detroit, Orlando, Minnesota…), some others keep on fighting to save their seat between the seventh and the tenth position, which means play in.

The play in tournament, happening from May 18 to 21, will decide of the last two teams, in each conference, who will follow the first six ones in playoffs (May 22-July 22). Four teams, ranking seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth, will be competing to get a chance, and Africa has its word to say as well.

In the Western Conference, led by the Phoenix Suns of Chris Paul and the Utah Jazz of Rudy Gobert (both teams have the same victory rate of 71,4%), Lakers are beginning to find their main leaders after months of injuries. Anthony Davis and LeBron James are back to business, even though last game was a surprising defeat against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. 

The teammates of German Gambian point guard Dennis Schröder are only ranking fifth, threatened by Dallas and Portland. The Denver Nuggets of Sudanese center Bol Bol, son of former African star Manute Bol, are standing one place before them, behind the Clippers and their third place. Spanish Congolese center Serge Ibaka, who grabbed the supreme title with Toronto in 2019, should play a decisive part in the upcoming playoffs with his new team of the L.A Clippers.

In the Eastern Conference, the competition remains fierce on top of the ranking between the teammates of Cameroonian center Joel Embiid, making Philly look great again, and the Milwaukee Bucks of Greek Nigerian power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Respectively ranking second and third in the East, both teams have been overtaken by the Brooklyn Nets and their impressive armada, who hardly ever plays together though, due to never-ending injuries (Kevin Durant came back lately, while James Harden is still in pain).

Ranking twelfth, things are going to be complicated for the Toronto Raptors in the play in race. We do not even talk about playoffs any more for a team that counts three victories less than DC, tenth and virtually qualified for the next play in. English Nigerian forward OG Anunoby and Cameroonian former MIP (Most Improved Player) Pascal Siakam have unfortunately great chances to be on holidays in three weeks. For the Charlotte Hornets of Congolese center Bismack Biyombo, ranking eighth with a victory rate of 48,4%, things are more rejoicing: the play in smells good.

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