Sizing up the West playoff race

PER Diem: Feb. 24, 2010

Updated: February 24, 2010, 1:48 PM ET
By John Hollinger |
Duncan/DurantD. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty ImagesCan Tim Duncan and the old guard out West keep the up-and-coming Thunder at bay any longer?

It may very well be Changing of the Guard Night in San Antonio on Wednesday. The up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder come into town to take on the veteran Spurs, a team the Okies have imitated so well that they've now passed it in the Western Conference standings. The Thunder enter the game in the improbable position of owning a lead of 1½ games over the Spurs, and it's quite possible that Oklahoma City could finish with a top-four seed in the West while San Antonio misses the playoffs entirely.