Western Conference playoff race heats up


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Mandeep Karir

NBA fans are getting riled up by setting up bets and cheering for their favorite teams who are putting up tremendous fights in the remainder of the regular season. With the NBA Playoffs officially less than one month away, let’s take a dive into NBA action through March 19.

The Sacramento Kings have been putting on a stellar performance this season with a 43-27 record. They are just four games shy of the first seed belonging to the Denver Nuggets. De’Aaron Fox is putting on a scoring clinic with 25.3 points per game to go along with just over six assists per game.

Other strong factors to the Kings’ success this season are Domantas Sabonis and Harrison Barnes. The Kings look like they’re ready to give their fans a playoff appearance 17 years in the making.

The New York Knicks are looking like they found all the missing pieces from last season. After a rather abysmal 2021-2022 season, in which they went 37-45, the Knicks are improving in areas they struggled in last year, such as closing out nail-biter games.

Julius Randle is looking a lot like a Most Improved Player award candidate. Randle has been showing great teamwork and leadership while on the court, averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Adding Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart to the mix was great for the team. Brunson consistently shows his smart basketball playstyle and scoring prowess, while Hart is a great team player who leads with his defensive presence.

An unexpected surprise this season is the mediocre performance of the Golden State Warriors. After becoming NBA Finals Champions a season ago, they are sitting at the seventh seed with a 36-36 record, 11.5 games behind the first-seed Nuggets team and only two games ahead of the ninth-seed Oklahoma City Thunder.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson seem to be doing great in terms of scoring, and the defensive help from Draymond Green looks great. Yet they struggle to pull themselves above the other teams in the West.

The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship during the NBA’s season in the bubble. LeBron James has not played since Feb. 26 due to a foot injury. Anthony Davis is dealing with stress on his right foot and is someone who can’t afford to be out for more time than he has already missed. With the Lakers in 11th place in the West, they need all the help they can get.

Damian Lillard has been trying to help his Portland Trail Blazers pull out of their slump, but they have only managed to win 31 games so far. With CJ McCollum on the Pelicans, the Trail Blazers are in need of help.

The Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets have all officially been eliminated from the playoffs and the play-in tournament. These teams are in need of a complete readjustment going into next season.