Marty Burns
Wednesday April 6th, 2005

Western Conference Seed Report
Seeded teams
1Phoenix Suns (57-17)
Games remaining: 8 (5H, 3A)
Crystal ball says: They lose, at most, two on the road (among games at Golden State, at Lakers, at Sacramento) and one at home (either Rockets, Kings or Nuggets).
Projected finish: 5-3; final record: 62-20.
The skinny: They did even better than the Crystal Ball predicted, winning last week at Houston. With a two-game lead over the Heat and Spurs as of Tuesday, they're looking good in the race for NBA's best record.
8Memphis Grizzlies (41-32)
Games remaining: 9 (4H, 5A)
Crystal ball says: They lose three on the road (among games at Dallas, Houston, Denver, San Antonio) and two at home (Heat, Spurs, Mavs).
Projected finish: 4-5; final record: 45-37.
The skinny: Nothing has changed since last week. The remaining schedule is still brutal, but they should be able to hold on -- especially since they own the tiebreaker against Minnesota.
 
2San Antonio Spurs (54-19)
Games remaining: 9 (3H, 5A)
Crystal ball says: They lose three on the road (among games at Dallas, at Golden State, at Memphis, at Minnesota) and none at home (Clippers, Blazers, Grizzlies).
Projected finish: 6-3; final record: 60-22.
The skinny: They still have an outside shot at catching the Suns, especially if Tim Duncan (ankle) returns next week. But with so many road games left to play, they might have to settle for another 60-win season.
7Denver Nuggets (42-31)
Games remaining: 9 (5H, 4A)
Crystal ball says: They lose three on the road (among games at New Orleans, Minnesota, at Houston, at Phoenix) and one at home (among Sonics, Warriors or Grizzlies).
5-4; final record: 47-35.
The skinny: Tuesday's win at Memphis all but assures them at least the No. 7 spot. They might even be able to climb to No. 6, especially since they play April 16 in Houston for a chance to win the season series and earn the tiebreaker.
 
3Seattle SuperSonics (50-24)
Games remaining: 8 (4H, 4A)
Crystal ball says: They lose three on the road (among games at Denver, at Minnesota, at Dallas, at Houston) and one at home (either Rockets or Mavs).
Projected finish: 4-4; final record: 54-28.
The skinny: Injuries to Rashard Lewis and Vladimir Radmanovic have them stumbling to the finish line, but they've got the No. 3 seed locked up by virtue of their Northwest title.
6Houston Rockets (44-31)
Games remaining: 7 (4H, 3A)
Crystal ball says: They lose two on the road (among games at Lakers, at Phoenix, at Seattle) and two at home (among Grizzlies, Nuggets, Sonics).
Projected finish: 3-4; final record: 47-35.
The skinny: Consecutive losses to the Suns, Hornets and Warriors have dealt a major blow to their hopes of finishing fifth. But if they do get hot and catch the Kings, they own the tiebreaker by virtue of a better conference record.
 
4Dallas Mavericks (50-24)
Games remaining: 8 (4H, 4A)
Crystal ball says: They lose two on the road (among games at Seattle, at Portland, at Lakers, at Memphis) and one at home (either Spurs, Grizzlies or Sonics).
Projected finish: 5-3; final record: 55-27.
The skinny: They way they've been playing on the road of late, they have a good chance to finish with the third-best record in the West. Still, they can only climb as high as the No. 4 seed.
5Sacramento Kings (46-30)
Games remaining: 6 (2H, 4A)
Crystal ball says: They lose two on the road (among games at Lakers, at Phoenix, at Utah) and one at home (Suns).
Projected finish: 3-3; final record: 49-33.
The skinny: Tuesday's big win over the Sonics all but locks up the No. 5 seed. But might they be better off finishing sixth and playing Seattle in the first round instead of having to face the Mavs for a fourth straight postseason?
Still in the hunt
 Minnesota Timberwolves (39-35)
Games remaining: 8 (5H, 3A)
Crystal ball says: They lose none of their remaining road games (at Atlanta, at Utah, at New Orleans) but two at home (among Nuggets, Warriors, Sonics, Spurs).
Projected finish: 6-2; final record: 45-37.
The skinny: With their remaining schedule, they still have a shot at catching the Grizz for overall record. But without the tiebreaker they're going to need Memphis to lose an extra game.

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