Best Western Conference Playoff Picture?

By Kevin Linares

The NBA playoffs are among us and it is always fun to look at all the possible and more entertaining match ups that we basketball fans can all hope for.  Of course every fan is going to want to see their team battling it out in the playoffs but what story lines will be the best? What teams offer interesting match ups? Will old friends become foes? Those questions will be answered here.

Lets start off by looking at what teams are seeded in the playoffs as of today.

Team

Record

Games Back

Conf. Record

Streak

 1.  San Antonio

48-15

-

26-10

Lost 1

 2.  Oklahoma City

46-16

1.5

31-9

Won 4

 3.  LA Clippers

44-20

4.5

27-12

Lost 1

 4.  Memphis

41-19

5.5

21-13

Won 3

 5.  Denver

41-22

7

27-11

Won 7

 6.  Golden State

35-28

13

19-19

Won 2

 7.  Houston

34-29

14

15-21

Won 1

 8.  Utah

32-30

15.5

18-19

Lost 3


The top five seeded teams which include the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Memphis and Denver seem to be locked in the playoffs. The only thing that can really change there is teams moving higher or lower in the playoffs. The last three however can still be up for grabs if the Lakers, who are currently in 9th place, half a game behind the Utah Jazz, continue to chase after a playoff spot.

The Golden State Warriors can still fall out of the playoffs if they lose a large amount of the games they have left and the Jazz, Rockets, and Lakers win enough to push them out of the playoffs. The Warriors falling out of the playoffs seems unlikely. The Rockets have been looking better recently and are currently in the 7th spot, 2 games ahead of the Lakers. The Utah Jazz are at the 8th spot right now, the final playoff spot. Both the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz are very reachable and can be knocked out of the playoffs making space for Los Angeles.

Now off to what can be a possible Western conference picture filled with story lines.

 1. Oklahoma City vs.  8. Houston
 2. LA Clippers      vs.  7. LA Lakers
 3. San Antonio     vs.  6. Golden State
 4. Denver            vs.  5. Memphis

I have Oklahoma City and the LA Clippers taking advantage of Tony Parker’s absence with the Spurs, bringing them down to the 3rd spot. The Lakers do not just make the playoffs but make it to the 7th seed after a season that could be looked at one of their worst in terms of early expectations and star power. Houston Rockets end up just making the playoffs and the Utah Jazz fall out of the playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

A match that will certainly have many people turn on their televisions to watch James Harden take on the team that traded him breaking up their young core of Harden, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Houston Rockets are a young team with great offensive power taking on a Thunder team determined to return to the finals once again but leave home with the trophy this time. Houston will have a tough time taking on the Thunder but I see an exciting match up with Harden’s scoring and showing the Thunder why they should not have traded him. Oklahoma City should be able to win this match up with Kevin Durant leading them and the caged tiger in Westbrook coming out to show how deadly he can be.

LA Clippers vs. LA Lakers

The battle for Los Angeles, the match up that everyone is wanting to see. Chris Paul takes on the team he should have been on to try to show what team runs Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant will show why they call him the “Black Mamba” and why his new nickname “vino’ should stick. Lakers might have the home court advantage at the 7th seed in this series unless the Clipper fans turnout to show if L.A. bleeds red or purple and gold. The Lakers will have their hands full taking on one of the deepest teams, if not the deepest team in the NBA. With the injuries the Lakers have been suffering will they be able to keep up? Will Pau Gasol be healthy enough to play? Will Dwight Howard show he was worth trading for? Will the Clippers finally dethrone the Lakers in L.A. and get their hands on a championship? Can the Lakers honor one of the greatest owners in all of sports in Jerry Buss by shocking the world and doing what many thought was ridiculous and impossible? Who will win the battle of Los Angeles? We will just have to wait and see if it happens.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors

The Spurs have been atop the elite in the NBA for quite sometime and year after year they go unnoticed. Golden State started the season off right but are showing inconsistency  as the season gets closer to the playoffs. Stephen Curry has been impressive after his All Star snub and would like to continue to show why he should have been chosen. Tony Parker is not mentioned as a MVP as much as he should be and plans on showing why he should be. Will the Warriors make some noise and challenge the veteran Spurs with one of the best if not the best coach in the NBA right now in Greg Popovich? Mark Jackson has not been doing so bad himself as coach and his Warriors will try to show the NBA that they are something to look out for in the future.

Denver Nuggets vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The two dark horses in the Western conference will be something exciting to watch. Memphis, with the big headline trade of Rudy Gay earlier in the season has much to prove. Denver has been a fast paced and exciting team to watch but are without an actual superstar to lead the team. Both teams lack a leader that can be the one taking those 4th quarter shots especially in the playoffs but have plenty of players willing to step up to the plate. There is only room for one dark horse this time. The question is which one will come out of this series?

The headlines and match ups are there but will they happen? For the basketball fans out there, the answer should be and probably is hopefully so. The West will have another exciting playoffs as they have been so many times in the past. The East seems to lack the competition to draw the attention the West can. The Heat have been impressive winning 15 straight games. The Pacers are there to give them a challenge but the Heat definitely look too big of a challenge for them. Who do you think will come out of the West to represent and possibly win it all? It is up for grabs.

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Filed under 2013 Playoffs Talk

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