The problem with the Western Conference is one week, good or bad, is enough to shake up the standings. This week, though, there was only one real move out West.
With a little over a month left in the NBA regular season, the Western Conference standings are just as tight as ever. While the top of the West is all but decided, with Golden State holding on to a commanding 5.5 game lead, spots two through seven are a little more in flux, with Memphis holding a slim but manageable two game lead over the Houston Rockets. The Portland Trail Blazers are still comfortably in third, having beat Houston last night, but considering they're playing a key man down after the Wes Mathews Achilles injury, they may be in for a bumpy end to the season despite a fairly easy schedule.
The 5-6-7 spots are the most interesting at the moment, with the Clippers barely holding on to the fifth spot. San Antonio is chomping at their heels, just a half game behind Los Angeles, on the strength of a six game winning streak. The Mavericks sit in the seventh spot, just a half game behind the Spurs. As of this writing, a single game separates that entire group. Five and a half games separates the Grizzlies at number two and Dallas at number seven.
Here are the full standings if you are more of a visual person:
Where would the Mavericks be if they were in the Eastern Conference?
Ugh. They'd be tied for second. This is silly. The East is such a garbage conference.
Important Western Conference Games this week
Though it's not a true Western conference game, the NBA Finals rematch between the red hot Spurs and the ever-improving Cleveland Cavaliers has direct ramifications for current playoff positioning. The Clippers pay a visit to Dallas Friday evening, where a win for Dallas would do wonders for both their standings and the general Maverick confidence. Sunday sees the Clippers host the Rockets in a potential first round match up. Portland and Toronto face off Sunday (Mavs fans should root for the Raptors). Dallas hosts OKC Monday in a match up that should literally terrify anyone who has been paying attention to the Westbrookian path of destruction these past few weeks.
Hold on to your butts.