BOSTON — As we’re entering the end of the 2007-2008 NBA regular season, much attention is being placed on the Western Conference playoff race. Many are wondering who will come out on top and who will fall through the cracks. With only a few weeks away from seasons end, there hasn’t been one team to clinch a spot, while the Eastern Conference already has half of the teams in the playoffs.
What does this mean? The end of the regular season is going to be a race to the finish between the top teams in the Western Conference. This is the first time in NBA history that no team has clinched the playoffs this late in the season.
This historic 2007-2008 NBA season has delivered some of the most fun and excitement in recent memory to the game, reporter Michael Heller said, “this years NBA’s Western Conference is considered one of the strongest ever.”
To get a better idea on how close the race is take a look at the Eastern Conference teams where the four teams still looking for a playoff spot are only a game above 500 or a few games below 500.The top teams in the Western Conference are all over 500 and nine teams are only separated by six wins. As a result teams must be playing at their very best since stringing a few losses here and there will most likely mean you are going to be knocked out of playoff contention.
Sports columnist Kieran Hawe said, “The talent from top to bottom in the Western Conference is insane. Every single team that will make the NBA Playoffs will have at least 45 wins.”
Since a few losses could mean loss of playoffs this puts tremendous pressure on the players, coaches, and organization; outside distractions don’t help and injuries are season threatening. Recently, two top teams have lost stars-the Dallas Mavericks being the lost their leading scorer for at least a couple of weeks and the Los Angeles Lakers lost their new all-star forward Pau Gasol, for a few weeks as well.
In the past few weeks, we have seen four different number one teams in the Western Conference and many teams bounce in and out of the last playoff spot. As the weeks go by one thing is promised, there can only be eight teams in the playoffs. Stay tuned.