With the basketball bombast of All-Star Weekend now squarely in the rear-view mirror, the eyes of the NBA world turn to the two conferences' respective playoff races.
Who will rise, who will fall and who will put themselves in the best positions to survive and advance come spring?
That the Western Conference boasts more genuine contenders and overall depth practically goes without saying: Of the 10 best records in the NBA, eight belong to teams from the West.
The East might be the weaker of the two, but that doesn’t make the race for seeding any less compelling. Today, we predict how each of the conference’s playoff spots will shake out down the stretch, starting with the No. 8 seed and working our way up to the cream of the conference crop.
Note: All stats courtesy of NBA.com and current as of February 17, unless otherwise stated.