Heading into tonight's action, the Spurs and Thunder look fairly safe as the top two seeds in the Western Conference. The Spurs have a five and a half game lead on the third-place Grizzlies, while the Thunder remain three games up on the Grizz, even after last night's loss in Memphis.
However, the last several weeks of the season figure to provide a very entertaining race for the No. 3 seed in the West. While the Grizzlies (46-21) currently hold the spot, it's only by percentage points over the Clippers (47-22) and Nuggets (47-22). All three teams are nine and a half games ahead of the sixth-place Warriors.
While the race for the third seed hasn't received as much coverage as the battle for the eighth seed, it figures to be crucial for a team's chances of getting out of the first round. For instance, if the Grizzlies hold onto the third spot, they would host a playoff series against an opponent like the Warriors and Rockets, rather than having to go up against the Clippers and Nuggets right away.
With five Western teams seemingly head and shoulders above the rest of the conference, at least two of those elite clubs will have to play one another in the first round. The Thunder and Spurs almost certainly won't be involved, so which of the other three potential matchups would intrigue you most? A rematch of last year's first-round series between the Grizzlies and Clippers? Or a series involving an entertaining Nuggets team that has won its last 13 games? Weigh in below!