Because the 2015 All-Star break coming to an end, let take a look as the West to begin focusing on the 2015 NBA playoffs. Nothing is determined in the Western Conference, let’s take a look at what I think the standings will turn out going into the postseason.
The Suns, Thunder and Pelicans all currently end up battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With only a casino game and a half separating these three teams, the race for the eighth seed will probably not be determined until the last week of the season. Having three of these last four opponents currently possessing sub .500 records, the Thunder will probably have the ability to sneak their way into the playoffs.
In one single of the very competitive fields in years, the Los Angeles Clippers currently end up in sixth place in the Western Conference. The timetable for All-Star forward Blake Griffin’s return from an elbow injury remains unclear, and him missing any extended time frame will hurt the Clippers’ chances of moving up in the Western Conference standings.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden may be having an MVP-type season, but he will not have the ability to carry the Rockets through the rest of the regular season by himself. With center Dwight Howard out six to eight weeks as a result of knee injury, the Rockets will fall several spots from where they currently sit in the Western Conference.
If the San Antonio Spurs aspire to drastically move up in the Western Conference standings, chances are they must string together some wins early coming out of the All-Star break. In the last month of season, the Spurs possess a hardcore schedule as they have eight games against potential Western Conference playoff teams such as the Warriors, Thunder, Suns, Pelicans and Rockets – twice.
The veteran-laden Dallas Mavericks will benefit from having only 12 road games left this season. With a great schedule ahead of them, the Mavericks will certainly have the ability to make the most of both the Rockets and Clippers’injury woes as they move up into the fourth spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Similar to teams in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers end the standard season with a hardcore schedule. They face the Warriors, Thunder and Mavericks in three of these last four games. However, with 50% of their remaining road games against teams under .500, the Trail Blazers should manage to remain the next seed in the Western Conference.
So far this season, the Memphis Grizzlies have now been one of the finest teams in the entire NBA. Standing at 39-14 coming out of the All-Star break, the Grizzlies end up only behind the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference. Facing the Thunder, Wizards, Pelicans, Clippers and Warriors all in the last month of the season, it will undoubtedly be hard for the Grizzlies to create up the four-game deficit they currently face.
The most impressive team in the NBA thus far this season has clearly been the Golden State Warriors. As the only real team left with a single-digit loss total, the Warriors currently end up atop the Western Conference. With arguably the very best backcourt duo in the entire league, the Warriors come in good position to possess home-court advantage through the entire Western Conference playoffs.