If you’re feeling like the NBA season isagging along, then you’ve got to keep in mind the playoff match-ups that are scheduled to roll out in the spring. Every team wants to make a statement in this year’s playoffs and these are the last matches of the regular season for several teams. By the time the playoffs roll around, we’ll have several match-ups to look forward to! Here are our predictions for the entire Western Conference playoff line-up and review of the match-ups that have already occurred.

Los Angeles Lakers

They seem to get better every year, but we still believe they’ll come up short in the Western Conference playoffs this year. Remember Shaq? He’s still in the NBA, but his game may have played-too soon at the end of his career. Dwight Howard is still the unhinged one, Kobe can’t win them many games and the rest of the team (Oscar and Lamar Odom) doesn’t have what it takes to make the leap.

Denver Nuggets

The one thing that Denver can get better than they’ve been playing is the defensive end. Denver plays fantastic defense but it hasn’t translated when the Nuggets want to score. If Carmelo Anthony can draw double teams, Denver is a pick ’em for the playoffs if they get as far as the Western Conference finals.

Dallas Mavericks

This seems to be a lot of the reason why Dallas is getting hot, going 18-6 and actually pulling the “Team of the Year” off of their “Big Three.” Dirk Nowitzki’s return is only going to help the Mavs. The question then will be can they keep it up for the whole year. A fast start could mean mogul city and playing for a playoff spot.

San Antonio Spurs

This team has the balance of talent and size to compete with anyone in the West. Tim Duncan is an all-time great, but now it’s time for Parker and Duncan to ” Wake of the Slam Dunk ” together. Something tells us that this young Spurs team isn’t done just yet.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant’s performance this season has brought the Thunder from laughing stock to contenders. From being the worst team in the NBA, they suddenly became a threat. And the scary part is that the Thunder isn’t done . They will most likely struggle with the Miami Heat but will definitely give the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs tough times.

Memphis Grizzlies

Proving that they will be the surprise in the West, the Grizzlies can even things up in the playoffs. Statistically, they are the third lowest team in the West, they just play extremely hard. With OJ Mayo and Mike Conley, they can beat almost anybody. They will be a force to reckon with for the entire 2011-2012 season.

Denver Nuggets

What I like about the Nuggets is that most people don’t think they’re very good, but if you actually watch them, they can win games. Moves like the Reggie Miller trade are good for the Nuggets because they will compete in the West. They’ll need more help from wing players like Carmelo and J.R. Smith to have a successful season.

Utah Jazz

They’re young and talented. Derrick Favors is just what they needed and a defender in Brandon Woods can really create a handful of opportunities for the rest of the team. They’ll do some embarrassing thing this year in the playoffs but beyond that, they’ve got a great core of players.

Houston Rockets

They’re improving. This is the team we want to see making it to the Finals and have something like the Spurs. That just seems to fit the general needs of the Big 3. James Harden is a rookie that can really turn out to be a superstar.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Still a chance to win it all, but we’ll just say that again for every summer now, we’ll just Hispanicfullbackand hope they get it done. Kevin McHale is the best coach in basketball now (not just the NBA). Ricky Rubio is a stud. Andrew Wiggins is universally promising and the team’s young, Western Conference bred players are all talented basketball players. They’ll certainly beat the Spurs and will be a force in the West. Hopefully the Suns get lucky. Otherwise, they may not.

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