Who is the dark horse in the Western Conference playoffs?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

Unlike the Eastern Conference, all eight teams in the Western Conference playoffs are legit and can compete with the best of the best in the NBA.

Obviously, the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers are the cream of the crop and teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz aren’t far behind them, but there are definitely some teams in the West that are forces to be reckoned with like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.

Personally, I don’t see any team in the West get the best of the defending NBA champs, even though they are limping into the playoffs, but there are a few teams to keep your eye on when the playoffs get underway.

In the Eastern conference, I believe there are few teams that could surprise some people like the Charlotte Bobcats and the Milwaukee Bucks, but in the West the one team to look out for more than any is the
Denver Nuggets.

At the beginning of this NBA regular season the Denver Nuggets arguably one of the hottest teams in the league as they got off to a quick start and right where they left off as one of the teams to beat in the West.

Unfortunately, despite put up one hell of a fight in the Western Conference finals last season, the Denver Nuggets went home early and the Los Angeles Lakers went on to another NBA title. This season the Nuggets looked prove that they are worthy of the title contender tag as they had the crosshairs set on the Lakers back, but in the second half of the season the nuggets have really started to struggle haven’t really been able to get back on track or to their new title contender status.

When the main reasons for their problems the second half of the season has been the absence of the future Hall of fame head coach George Karl who is battling cancer for the second time in his life.

Fortunately, the type of cancer they Karl is battling is something that he will be able to recover from and possibly recover fast enough for him to be on the sidelines for the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs if they can advance past the Utah Jazz.

Coming into their first-round matchup with the Utah Jazz the only real concern besides George Karl’s health is Kenyon Martin and whether or not his body will hold a throughout the playoffs. Martin is a big part of the Nuggets defense in arguably the backbone along with Chris “Birdman” Andersen.

If Kenyon Martin cannot stay healthy, I believe the Denver Nuggets will be in serious trouble in the defense of intensity will suffer.

The one thing that the Denver Nuggets might have going for them right now is that the Utah Jazz are also pretty banged up as they will be without possibly two key players in Andrei Kirilenko (out two weeks) and Carlos Boozer (game one game time decision) who is suffering from a strained muscle in his rib cage.

Even though the Utah Jazz will be extremely difficult to beat in a seven-game series in the first round, I believe Carmelo Anthony and company have what it takes and they will advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

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