The Western Conference playoff race is going down to the wire, as the Thunder and Spurs are tied for the West's best record at 57-21. And don't rule out the Nuggets, still in the hunt three games behind San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
But the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage through the conference finals could come with an interesting door prize: Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, now one game ahead of the Jazz for the No. 8 seed. Which team will win the West? Would it be better to finish second and avoid the Lakers in the first round?
The Thunder own the tiebreaker over the Spurs and don't have to play the Lakers again, while San Antonio travels to L.A. on Sunday. Is Oklahoma City in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed?
Guess who's back?
The top three teams in the West have handled the Lakers in the regular season. But the playoffs have a way of making such records meaningless. Are the Lakers best avoided in the first round?
Rocky Mountain Way
The Nuggets are three games behind the Thunder and Spurs for No. 1 in the West, but few teams have been hotter in the second half. Can Denver break through to its first NBA Finals?