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NBA West playoff picture: Suns still hold No. 1 seed, while Grizzlies keep pace

Here’s how the Western conference looks as the season continues winding down.

Memphis Grizzles guard Ja Morant (12) reacts during the first half against the Orlando Magic at FedExForum. Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

With the calendar flipping to March, it is a perfect time to look at the playoff picture for the Eastern and Western Conferences. At this time of the year, teams in both conferences are jockeying for playoff seeding or trying to get into the play-in tournament.

In the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns currently hold the No. 1 seed, despite missing their starting backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, who should be back soon. Phoenix continue to show us that their run to the NBA Finals last season was not a fluke.

Finally, when it comes to the play-in tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to hold onto the ninth spot in the West with only 19 games left in the season. Below we’ll take a look at the current standings as of March 7th and the playoff picture in the West, while giving our predictions on how things could shake out.

Western Conference Standings and Playoff Picture

1. Phoenix Suns (51-13)
2. Memphis Grizzlies (44-22) 8 GB
3. Golden State Warriors (43-22) 8.5 GB
4. Utah Jazz (40-24) 10.5 GB 11 GB
5. Dallas Mavericks (40-25) 11.5 GB
6. Denver Nuggets (39-26) 12.5 GB

Play-in tournament

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (37-29) 15 GB
8. Los Angeles Clippers (34-32) 18 GB
9. Los Angeles Lakers (28-36) 23 GB
10. New Orleans Pelicans (27-37) 24 GB

11. Portland Trail Blazers (25-39) 26 GB
12. San Antonio Spurs (25-40) 26.5 GB

Even though they have lost four consecutive games, Portland is still in striking distance for 10th seed in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers are 1.5 games behind New Orleans and have two games left against the Pelicans down the stretch. But New Orleans should be able to hold on with the way they’ve played since the trade deadline.

As for the teams not in the play-in, the Grizzlies are applying pressure to the Warriors for the second seed in the west. Golden State is only five percentage points ahead of Memphis as they’ve lost four-straight and gone 2-8 in their last 10 games. If Memphis can somehow get the No. 2 seed after being in the play-in tournament for the last two seasons that would be one hell of a turnaround. Meanwhile, the Suns are still holding a commanding lead for the No. 1 seed, despite not having Devin Booker or Chris Paul. Monty Williams has done a great job with this team and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.