It goes without saying that, top to bottom, the Western Conference is the stronger of the two conferences in the NBA. And with just over two months remaining in the regular season, the battle for postseason position is really starting to heat up.
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While those three are practically guaranteed a playoff spot, the main race is for the final playoff seeds. Currently, the 6, 7 and 8-seeds are only separated by a single game. The Golden State Warriors are in the 6th spot, with the Utah Jazz a half-game behind them, and the Houston Rockets only a half-game back of the Jazz.
Stephen Curry has been spectacular this season, leading the Warriors to a surprising 33-27 record. The Jazz are forever riding into the playoffs at the bottom-half of the standings, and that seems to be the case again this year. The Rockets could possibly gain more ground, as their season wraps up with a fairly easy schedule. With James Harden leading the way, Houston has a real chance to escape the first round of playoffs for a change.
Behind them fighting for a postseason spot are the Lakers, Trail Blazers and Mavericks. All of which are within 5 games of the 8th and final seed.
The Lakers, who have completely turned their season around, are now only 2.5 games out, winning 9 of their last 13. It seems that LA's "super team" may have finally learned how to play together. Portland is 4 games out of the playoffs at this point. Rookie Damian Lillard has stepped up to NBA-level games with ease and has shown great leadership. He could easily be a deciding factor if the Blazers make a late-season run. Dallas also has potential to make the playoffs. They're only 5 games out at the moment. The Mavericks have had a rather pedestrian season, mainly due to star player Dirk Nowitzki being injured. Now that he is back, Dallas is back to their usual winning ways, so they could certainly make a run.
There are roughly 25 games remaining in the 2012-2013 NBA season, and it is still completely up in the air as to who will make the playoffs in the Western Conference. Anything could happen, and there are a multitude of teams that could get in. These final few months should be some of the best basketball we've seen in recent memory, and will determine who is still playing in late-April and who is at home watching on television.