Playoff preview: Western Conference

Updated: April 27, 2012, 4:04 PM ET
By J.A. Adande | ESPN.com

Last year was only the second Western Conference finals since 1998 that did not include the Los Angeles Lakers or San Antonio Spurs. Was that a fluke? Can we apply the same label to the Dallas Mavericks' championship run?

The Spurs and Lakers, occupying two of the top three seeds, look better prepared to return to glory than the Mavericks. The question is whether the champions of the past can reclaim the conference or they're about to be permanently pushed aside by the rambunctious Thunder, ...

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