Western Conference Crunch

All eight spots have been clinched since late last week, and now it's all about seeding.


Not a single one of those has been locked up yet.


Denver routed San Antonio - Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was ejected 63 seconds into the game - to get within 1+ games of Golden State for the No. 1 spot. Houston rolled past the Los Angeles Clippers to remain No. 3, still a half- game ahead of No. 4 Portland, even after  the Trail Blazers beat Memphis.The Spurs fell one spot to No. 8 after their loss to the Nuggets.


Golden State has a huge edge in the race for the No. 1 seed - four of its five remaining games are against teams that are missing the playoffs, and the other one is against the Clippers in the final regular-season game that will be played at Oracle Arena. Motivation will not be in short supply for the reigning champions in that game on Sunday night.


Denver's schedule is brutal: The Nuggets still play Portland twice, plus Utah and end with Minnesota. Given that Houston has three games left and two of them are at home against New York and Phoenix, it's hard to see the Rockets going any worse than 2-1 the rest of the way. That means the Nuggets have some work to do just to lock up that No. 2 spot.

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