Breaking down the West playoff race

Expect another wild finish in the Western Conference (PER Diem: Feb. 28, 2012)

Updated: February 28, 2012, 5:16 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com

If the East is Miami and Chicago and a bunch of question marks, the West is more like Oklahoma City and a bunch of exclamation points. Even low-seeded teams in this conference represent serious threats come the postseason, as we saw a year ago when No. 8 Memphis nearly made the conference finals while the top two seeds combined to win zero second-round games.

The West looks very interesting again this season, especially with the compressed schedule increasing the importance of every game. At the moment, it looks like four teams -- Oklahoma City, San Antonio, the Clippers and Dallas -- are relatively certain to make the postseason, with each sporting chances of at least 92 percent according to today's Playoff Odds.