The NBA playoff teams were decided long before the season finale on April 16. However, the order of the NBA playoff teams out West was yet to be completely decided, as the No. 2, No. 3, No. 7 and No. 8 seeds were still on the line. Ultimately, the Oklahoma City got to finish just behind the San Antonio Spurs, while the Memphis Grizzlies won the right to face them.
The Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks played each other on April 16, right after each of them beat the Phoenix Suns just to reach the playoffs. Yet the winner of their match-up would get to avoid the NBA best San Antonio Spurs in the first round -- an honor finally won by the Grizzlies by 106-105 in overtime.
The Grizzlies and Mavericks fought hard merely to reach the playoffs and become big underdogs to the Thunder and Spurs. Yet Memphis did upset Oklahoma City in last year's second round, although the Thunder actually have Russell Westbrook set to face the Grizzlies this time. As for the Mavericks, while their 49 wins would be enough for the No. 3 seed in the East, it only got them a No. 8 seed in the West and a battle with the Spurs.
The Thunder could have fallen to the No. 3 spot, if they lost to the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers then beat the Portland Trail Blazers. It was actually easier said than done for the Thunder, who went to the wire to finally knock off the Pistons by 112-111. As a result, the Clippers could rest and resign themselves to facing the Golden State Warriors in round one.
Yet again, the NBA playoffs out West are led by the Spurs and Thunder, with San Antonio and Oklahoma City trading the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds this time around. Being the top seed didn't help the Thunder last season -- although Westbrook's injury did more to stop them -- whereas being a No. 2 was good enough for them to beat the No. 1 Spurs in the 2012 conference finals.
This is a Western Conference where the top five teams finished with a better or equal record than the two-time champion Miami Heat. As such, very little will qualify as an upset in this bracket. The accompanying list breaks down the crowded murderer's row in the West field.