1-San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are in a dogfight with the Mavs for the top seed in the West. In the big twist, the runner up will be the #4 seed in the West and will have to go against the Clippers or Grizzlies in the 1st round. San Antonio has no one left on the sked with a winning record.
2-Phoenix Suns. They've got the Pacific Division and the #2 seed locked down. Not too shabby for a team that was pillaged in the offseason [Richardson, Johnson], lost Amare Stoudamire for pretty much the entire season, and saw the Lakers and Clippers get stronger in the division.
3-Denver Nuggets. In the "smartest kid on the short bus" award....the Nuggets have clinched the Northwest Division. They have the #3 seed locked down. However, they still have a battle. As of now, they'd play the Clippers in the playoffs and would NOT have the homecourt advantage [LA has a better record]. So, there is that to look forward to. They have Portland, Seattle and Houston to go along with the Jazz and Kings on their schedule.
4-Dallas Mavericks. See the Spurs scenerio. But Dallas has a much tougher road. Two games against the Clippers, a game at the Suns, and another against the playoff fightin' Jazz.
5-Memphis Grizzlies. Now, this is the one time you want to lose. The Grizz and Clipps are fighting for those #5 and #6 seeds. Right now, being the #5 seed means you have to go against the Mavs or Spurs....the team with the NBA's 3rd best record. Being the #6 seed means you may have homecourt advantage against the Nuggets. Hmmmm....why win? Memphis has a semi-easy sked.....two against the Wolves, at Charlotte and Houston, and one with the Clippers that could decide this flim flam.
6-Los Angeles Clippers. See the Memphis take. The Clippers have the much harder sked than the Grizzlies....just because they face Dallas twice. They, again, have that big game against Memphis left [it's in Memphis] plus two with Seattle and another against Portland.
7-Sacramento Kings. The Kings have just 4 games left and own the tiebreaker against the Lakers. It isn't easy for Sacto. They get the Suns, Hornets and Sonics at home and the Nuggets on the road. Not totally difficult [especially if Phoenix decides to rest Nash a bit]....but some landmines indeed.
8-Los Angeles Lakers. Ah, but the Lakers have all four of their remaining games at home. And only one against a playoff team, the Suns. The Lakers get Golden State, Portland and New Orleans/Oklahoma City to close it out.
9-Utah Jazz. The Jazz have won 3 straight.... but none against a good team. Since neither the Kings nor Lakers have a really tough sked, Utah's only hope is to win out and pray. Not too promising of a task. Especially when a trip to Dallas and San Antonio [on back to back nights] sits right in the middle of their plate.
10-New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Like the Jazz, the Hornets will have to win out and hope either the Kings or Lakers fall apart. After two final games at home [which includes a date with the Jazz]....they head out to Sacramento, Phoenix and the Lakers.
MY PREDICTION: 1-Spurs, 2-Suns, 3-Nuggets, 4-Mavericks, 5-Grizzlies, 6-Clippers, 7-Lakers, 8-Kings. I think the Mavs will trip up just enough that the Spurs will claim the title. The Nuggets will barely....just barely....get the homecourt advantage as the #3 seed. I think the Clips sked pulls them down to #6 [I think they'll lose that pivotal game in Memphis]. I think the Lakers will run the table and get the #7 seed by one game.