NBA 2K20: Our Grizzlies-Blazers play-in series simulation

Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony - Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony - Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

We turn to NBA 2K20 to simulate the Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trailer Blazers play-in series

As we all know, COVID-19 threw a wrench in the season, forcing a brief stoppage followed by a unique mini-season in which 22 teams got to play eight seeding games to determine who will move on to the tournament-type playoff. After two weeks of play in the bubble, we’re not quite there yet.

While the Eastern Conference bracket has been determined, the Western Conference has a play-in series between the No. 8-seed Portland Trail Blazers and the No. 9-seed Memphis Grizzlies. The series tips off today, August 15 at 2:30 p.m. As per usual, we decided to turn to NBA 2K20 for a look at what could happen in today’s game.

We conducted a simulation of the play-in series with our usual CPU settings, not controlling either team. As a reminder, with the updated rules of the tournament, the Trailer Blazers need to only win one game to claim their spot in the playoff tournament. Should the Grizzlies win the first game, the two teams then meet again on Sunday for a second game to determine who moves on.

Here’s what NBA 2K20 predicts will happen.

Game 1: Memphis Grizzlies 104 – Portland Trail Blazers 92

An unusually low scoring affair for these two teams, the Memphis Grizzlies staved off a dramatic late-game comeback by the Trail Blazers fueled by Damian Lillard to win 104 to 92. The Blazers shot a pitiful 12% from beyond the arc which, coupled with the Grizzlies’ dominance inside the paint, proved to be the team’s downfall in game one.

Damian Lillard, who has been red hot of late, was held to just 20 points. C.J. McCollum led the team with 24 points.

For the Grizzlies, it was mostly the Ja Morant show as the rookie point guard shot 14-22 and scored 32 points. Valanciunas was quiet from the floor but did manage 10 boards, which proved to be a big help on defense.

With the Grizzlies winning the game, it would force a game two.

Game 2: Memphis Grizzlies 112 – Portland Trailer Blazers 100

The Memphis Grizzlies came out of the gate hot and never looked back. While the Blazers made it a game at the end, it ultimately wasn’t enough as the Grizzlies won the second game in the play-in series to punch a ticket to the NBA playoffs.

The Grizzlies shot 46% from the field while the Blazers shot just 41%, including another horrible game from beyond the three-point line where they shot just 20%.

Despite Damian Lillard’s best efforts, scoring 52 points on 60% shooting from the arc, the rest of the Blazers fell flat. Second on the team in scoring was Carmelo Anthony with 16 points, followed by C.J. McCollum’s 8.

For the Grizzlies, it was once again a team effort on offense as Jonas Valanciunas was the leading scorer with 24 points. Ja Morant put in another solid effort with 20 points.

Assuming NBA 2K20 is correct in its prediction and the Grizzlies win both games in the play-in series, they would claim the No. 8-seed and then face the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA playoffs.