The Western Conference has spent the past month creating a group of teams with more depth than has ever been in any sport.
With only six games separating the top teams (San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers are tied for first) from the ninth team in the conference (Denver Nuggets), we should be in line for a very good set of playoff games.
So, who gets in and who is left out?
My predictions, from top to bottom in the West...
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Utah Jazz
4. New Orleans Hornets
5. Phoenix Suns
6. Dallas Mavericks
7. Houston Rockets
8. Denver Nuggets
Once the playoff games start, we will be set with great games. And with so much parity in this conference, we will not know who will win from night to night.
I think the first round will look something like this...
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Lakers in 5
San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets: Spurs in 6
Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks: Mavericks in 6
Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Hornets: Suns in 7
After these teams are tested against good competition they will be tired and hungry.
They will want to tear each other apart, but will anybody have the energy?
I think so, and it will be another great set of series...
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns, Lakers in 7
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks, Mavericks in 7
Eight teams entered, and at this point, two are left. This is as close to a cage match as we will get in the NBA. These two teams have great rosters up and down, and will be tough to stop—but somebody must win.
So who will it be?
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks, Lakers in 6
The Lakers have a great trio with Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant. They are a tough team to beat. They will go through a lot to get to where they are.
Could they have had too tough of a time to be competitive in the Finals?
Only time will tell.
You can leave comments commending my brilliance or calling me a dumbass.
Eastern Conference predictions will come on Tuesday.
I'm Joe W.