We talk about the Bulls and the Eastern Conference race every game, so tonight with the Phoenix Suns in town, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the Western Conference play-off match-ups.
The Los Angeles Lakers looked untouchable at the start of the season, but maybe it was because they had so many home games. Earlier this month they lost 3 straight to Miami, Charlotte and Orlando and just recently lost two of 3 to Oklahoma City and New Orleans. Now, there was a 7-game win streak in between those "losing" streaks, but the point is that seeing the defending champs struggle gives some of the other teams a little confidence. Dallas, Denver, Utah and Phoenix are all teams that I think could make a run at the Lakers. And don't forget the Spurs, who are in the 8th spot. Their window may be just about closed, but don't discount the experience and play-off knowledge of the veterans on the Spurs. There are no back-to-backs in the play-offs and that can give aging legs some rest that they don't get in the regular season.
The Western Conference is loaded. You could have 6 of the 8 teams...and maybe even all 8 play-off teams...ring up 50 wins before the season is over.