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Butte College's Editorially Independent Student Voice


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How Good Is The Western Conference Really?

Look forward to an intense battle for the top three spots, and every single game is crucial. 

If you are an NBA fan, there is no question you understand just how compact the West is this year. Only 10 games separate the nine-seed Lakers from the one-seed Oklahoma City Thunder. For reference, the difference between the one and the two seeds is a greater margin in the East with the second-seed Milwaukee Bucks 11.5 games behind the first-seed Boston Celtics. 

Last year, reaching 44 wins would have landed a team safely in a top-six seed playoff spot in the west. This year, it is unclear if 44 wins would even be enough to secure a top-10 seed for a Play-In spot.

The Golden State Warriors are currently holding the 10th spot with 40 wins, but in the East, they would still be in contention for a top-six seed to secure a playoff spot in the East. The Houston Rockets are making a push for a top 10 seed at two games over .500. They needed an insane month from Jalen Green, who averaged 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists during the Month of March. Last year, this would have most likely secured the Rockets a play-in spot, but they are going to win most of their remaining games if they want a chance at it this year.

The battle for the one seed is about as tight as it can get. Right now, the Okc Thunder are in first place with a 52-22 record. The Nuggets are 0.5 games behind them with a 52-23 record, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are half a game behind the Nuggets with a 51-23 record. It is looking like Denver has the highest odds to land the one seed right now, as they have the second-easiest remaining schedule in the league. It is still going to be an intense battle in the top three though, and every single game is crucial. 

Only three games separate the five through nine seeds, so these teams can’t start easing up either. The Sacramento Kings, The Phoenix Suns, and the New Orleans Pelicans are going to have to battle to keep their top eight seeds. The Suns have the hardest remaining schedule in the NBA, and the Kings have the fourth toughest. The Lakers are lurking only a couple of games behind the eighth seed, and they have the 24th toughest remaining schedule, so look out for the Lakers to make a late-season push. 

The West hasn’t been this brutal since the 2017-2018 season, when it took 47 wins just to secure a top 8 seed, while the 9th seed Nuggets in that season were eliminated from the playoffs in this season with 46 wins. The Play-In tournament this year is going to feature teams that will all more than likely have 45+ wins.

 The Play-In tournament will take place from April 16-19. If you like watching peak basketball, I would suggest watching the games. Since the 7-10 seeds are so closely matched, it is going to be a mini-wildcard series that basketball fans aren’t going to want to overlook

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About the Contributor
Jackson Hutler
Jackson Hutler, Staff Writer
Hi Roadrunners, My name is Jackson Hutler and this is my second semester as a staff writer for The RoadRunner. I sometimes catch myself just drinking coffee and gazing outside, looking at the bigger picture. I let sports dictate my mood sometimes. Blasphemous is a fun word to use. Blasphemous. If you enjoy reading about absorbing current news or Sports, read my articles. The Kings are an interest of mine if you couldn’t tell. My AI statement: I dabble with AI use for my articles. I mainly use Grammarly to help me with spelling, grammar, and the structure of my articles. 
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