Wednesday NBA Roundup: West Playoff Race Becoming Refreshingly Wild

January 21st, 2016 by Grant Hughes Leave a reply »

The Western Conference playoff race isn't what it used to be, and that's not a bad thing.

Just past the halfway point of the 2015-16 NBA season, there are six teams crammed into the No. 7-12 spots, which is a far cry from what the standings looked like this time a year ago. All eight teams in playoff position had at least 25 wins (currently, there are just five), and the gap between the No. 8 seed and the No. 12 seed was a whopping eight games.

After a night in which the four teams most tightly clustered in the 7-10 range—the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings—were all active, the congestion is more striking than ever.

This is nothing like the days when one or two teams were fighting it out late in the year, hoping for the 48 or 50 wins it would take to secure that final spot. Now, we could see a squad or two reach the West playoffs with a sub-.500 record.

In fact, according to's playoff probabilities report, that's what we should expect. According to that simulation, the Rockets and Jazz are expected to occupy the seven ...

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