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NBA playoff picture: How the West standings look after All-Star break

Here’s how the Western Conference looks after the All-Star break.

We just finished up All-Star weekend and look forward to the last leg of the NBA season now. The West got tougher right before the All-Star break as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were traded into the conference from the Brooklyn Nets. Given where the standings are in this conference, this last stretch of the season will see some contenders fall off while others make big jumps.

Below we take a look at the Western Conference standings and playoff picture.

Western Conference Standings and Playoff Picture

1. Denver Nuggets (41-18)
2. Memphis Grizzlies (35-22) 5.0 GB
3. Sacramento Kings (32-25) 8.0 GB
4. Los Angeles Clippers (33-28) 9.0 GB
5. Phoenix Suns (32-28) 9.5 GB
6. Dallas Mavericks (31-29) 10.5 GB

Play-in tournament

7. New Orleans Pelicans (30-29) 11.0 GB
8. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-30) 11.0 GB
9. Golden State Warriors (29-29) 11.5 GB
10. Oklahoma City Thunder (28-29) 12.0 GB

11. Utah Jazz (29-31) 12.5 GB
12. Portland Trail Blazers (28-30) 12.5 GB
13. Los Angeles Lakers (27-32) 14.0 GB
14. San Antonio Spurs (14-45) 27.0 GB
15. Houston Rockets (13-45) 27.5 GB

Playoff Predictions

I don’t expect any of the top three seeds to make it out of the Western Conference. My two favorites are the No. 4 seeded Los Angeles Clippers and No. 5 seeded Phoenix Suns. The Clippers are better than what they’ve shown and they will get healthier as the season goes on. The Suns seem to be everybody’s pick now and it’s for good reason. Kevin Durant gives them arguably the best starting five in the NBA.

Other than those two teams, it would not surprise me to see the Warriors move up in the standings. They have had major struggles this season, but they have dealt with more injuries than a majority of teams. Stephen Curry is out for the next few games, but it shouldn't be too long before we see him back out there.