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The Suns have won all three seeding games, capped off by Devin Booker's game-winner Tuesday night. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The race for eighth in the NBA's Western Conference is heating up, and with the playoffs just 11 days away, we're all but guaranteed to see the first-ever postseason play-in game.

How it works: A play-in game will only occur if the eighth and ninth seeds are within four games of each other when the regular season concludes.

  • If multiple teams are within four games, whichever team is closest to the eighth seed will get the chance to fight for their playoff lives.
  • The two teams in question will play a maximum of two times, with the No. 8 team only having to win one game, while the No. 9 team has to win two.

The state of play: The Grizzlies are currently in eighth place, but five teams are within three games of them, and it's clearly going to come down to the wire.

  • 8. Grizzlies (32-37)
  • 9. Trail Blazers (31-38, 1 game back)
  • 10. Spurs (29-38, 2 games back)
  • 11. Pelicans (29-38, 2 games back)
  • 12. Suns (29-39, 2.5 games back)
  • 13. Kings (28-39, 3 games back)

Today's key matchups: Pelicans vs. Kings (1:30pm ET); Pacers vs. Suns (4pm); Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets (8pm)

Go deeper

Sep 30, 2020 - Sports

Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak

A worker cleans a handrail at a Tennessee Titans game. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The NFL announced that Sunday's game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers has been delayed after several Titans players and staffers tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the league's first game delay caused by a COVID-19 outbreak during the season, which is not taking place in a "bubble," like the NBA and MLS.

Sep 30, 2020 - Sports

NFL games are higher-scoring than ever

Chart: Axios Visuals

NFL teams have scored a combined 51 points per game through Week 3 (2,446 total points), demolishing the previous record of 47.7 ppg (2,287 total points) set in 2012.

By the numbers: Teams are also on pace to set the record for field goals made (1.70 per game, current record: 1.69), two-point conversions (0.30 attempts and 0.14 conversions per game, current records: 0.25 and 0.13) and receiving touch downs (1.79 per game, current record: 1.65).

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
19 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.