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Western Conference Seeding Watch: March 24

As we head into the 2014 NBA playoffs, the final games of the season hold a lot of weight as seeding battles come down the wire.

The NBA season is a long, grueling 82-game process.  No team looks the same in game 82 as they did in game 1.  It's an inevitable evolution and the league changes a lot during the marathon that is the regular season.  Conversely, the playoffs are often only 20-25 games with much more rest in between.  It's like the league uses the results of a marathon to qualify teams for a sprint.

And while the first game matters just as much in the standings as the last, the games in March seem to carry more weight in playoff picture.  It can be hard to put every game in perspective, and teams often suffer avoidable losses in December and January that they regret when they're one loss back during the seeding battle.

During this final stretch of the season teams do their last jostling for position when the new race starts in the playoffs.  Some teams are trying to get a higher seed, while others are fighting simply to be in the race.  On occasion, a team might even try to position themselves in a lower seed if they think that it presents them with a more favorable first-round opponent.

Here's how the current playoff seeding looks:

Seed Team Record Games Remaining
1 San Antonio Spurs 53-16 13
2 Oklahoma City Thunder 51-18 13
3 Los Angeles Clippers 49-21 12
4 Houston Rockets 47-22 13
5 Portland Trail Blazers 45-25 12
6 Golden State Warriors 44-27 11
7 Memphis Grizzlies 41-28 13
8 Dallas Mavericks 42-29 11
- Phoenix Suns 41-29 12

Currently, the Clippers sit in the 3-seed, facing a potential first round battle against the Warriors.  Keep an eye on the Clippers as they try to catch the Thunder, as well as monitor the lower seed teams to see who ends up being the Clippers' first round opponent.

Important Western Conference teams in action tonight:

Rockets: @ Bobcats, 4:00 PST

Suns: @ Hawks, 4:30 PST

Trail Blazers: @ Heat, 4:30 PST, NBATV

Grizzlies: vs Timberwolves, 5:00 PST

Thunder: vs Nuggest, 5:00 PST

Spurs: vs 76ers, 5:30 PST

Clippers: vs Bucks, 7:30 PST