Closer To Answers In The Wild Western Conference

Heading into the final day of the NBA’s regular season, the Western Conference playoff race still had some unanswered questions.

Though all eight postseason berths were accounted for, seeds 4-7 were yet to be finalized. The Nuggets (37-28) are currently sixth, a game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks, and are in line to start the playoffs on the road Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Denver would start Saturday in Oklahoma City if it falls to seventh.

With the standings capable of changing every day, is happy to help bring some clarity to the chaos.

No. 1 San Antonio (50-16)
Riding a nine-game winning streak, the Spurs secured the No. 1 seed in the West for the second year in a row.
Best case: Top seed, home court throughout NBA playoffs.
Worst case: Top seed in West, second overall in NBA.
In line to play … Utah.
Other possible foes … None.

No. 2 Oklahoma City (47-19)
The Thunder led the West for much of the season but could not keep pace with the red-hot Spurs. They will face either Denver or Dallas in the first round.
Best case: No. 2 seed.
Worst case: No. 2 seed.
In line to play … Dallas.
Other possible foes … Denver.

No. 3 Los Angeles Lakers (41-24)
The Lakers clinched the Pacific Division title and the No. 3 seed from the couch Tuesday night as their Staple Center co-tenants, the Clippers, lost to the Atlanta Hawks. The Lakers, who will be without suspended forward Metta World Peace for seven games finishes the season with a road game against Sacramento.
Best case: Third seed.
Worst case: Third seed.
In line to play … Denver.
Other possible foes … Dallas.

No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers (40-26)
The Clippers missed a chance to secure home-court advantage in the first round by losing three of their final four games. The Grizzlies have won 14 of 18 but L.A. holds the tiebreaker by virtue of winning two of three head-to-head games.
Best case: Fourth seed.
Worst case: Fifth seed.
In line to play … Memphis.
Other possible foes ... None.

No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies (40-25)
With the Clippers slumping, the Grizzlies can steal the home court with a home win tonight against Orlando. Either way, a date with L.A. shouldn’t intimidate Memphis, which shocked No. 1 San Antonio in the opening round a year ago.
Best case: Fourth seed.
Worst Case: Fifth seed.
In line to play … Los Angeles Clippers.
Other potential foes … None.

No. 6 Denver Nuggets (37-28)
Given up for dead by many observers near the end of March, the Nuggets rallied to win 10of 14 games, moving from ninth place to sixth. Denver can secure the sixth seed with a road victory against Minnesota, or a Mavericks loss at Atlanta.
Best case: Sixth seed.
Worst case: Seventh seed.
In line to play … Los Angeles Lakers.
Other potential foes … Oklahoma City.

No. 7 Dallas Mavericks (36-29)
The defending champions stumbled early and have played .500 ball in April. A road win in their regular-season finale would put some pressure on the Nuggets, and they are assured of no worse than seventh because of a favorable tiebreaker against Utah.
Best case: Sixth seed.
Worst case: Seventh seed.
In line to play … Oklahoma City.
Other potential foes ... Los Angeles Lakers.

No. 8 Utah Jazz (36-30)
Similar to the Nuggets, the Jazz have been in playoff mode for the better part of the past month. A triple-overtime win against Dallas kick-started a three-game winning streak, and Utah clinched a playoff spot by beating Phoenix at home on Tuesday.
Best case: Seventh seed.
Worst case: Eighth seed.
In line to play … San Antonio.
Other potential foes ... Oklahoma City.

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