Who Can Beat LA Come Play-Offs?

Sam Raphael ChadwickContributor IMarch 4, 2010

DALLAS - JANUARY 13:  Forward Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks hits a jumpshot for his 20,000 career point against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 13, 2010 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

When the season started the LA Lakers were supposed to be the un-disputed champions of the West especially after bringing in Ron Artest to replace Trevor Ariza and re-signing Lamar Odom.

However now the Dallas Mavericks have gone 9 straight games without a loss and are 9 and 1 in there last 10, only losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder the day after the trade deadline when Caron was new to the team and they were still building chemistry. 

Now though Dallas are steam rolling towards the top stop in the West and have received a huge boost after beating the Lakers (with Kobe and held him to 20pts on 9/23 shots) in Dallas. If Dallas can continue this run long into the playoffs much like Golden State did back in 2007 then im pretty sure Dallas can beat anyone including the Lakers. 

The team now in 3rd place in the West is the streaky Denver Nuggets, They have won six straight games at home including wins against Oklahoma City and the Boston Celtics, they have beaten the LA Lakers and the Cavs on seperate occasions so far. 

They have proven they can stick with the big guns especially if everyone is healthy, mainly players like Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups who if they face LA will provide valuable leadership and scoring (in last nights game against OKC Melo had 40points).

Dallas are the main contenders and the Denver Nuggets are underdogs but if either of these teams can make a serious run going into the playoffs then they can beat almost anybody.

Dallas made moves to be serious title contenders at the trade deadline when they picked up Caron Butler as a dependable scoring option behind Dirk, a more significant move i feel was that in that trade they picked up a real centre in Brandon Haywood, a guy who has come from a lottery team to a serious contender and in return has provided that Mavs with a strong rebounder (9.7 rebounds per game as a Mav) and solid inside scorer(10.5 points per game).  

Overall what im trying to say is that at the beginning of the season the West was a one horse race, now thought the West is a 3 horse race and its going to be either LA, Dallas or Denver that come out on top.