West playoff race wide open
PER Diem: March 25, 2010
Updated: March 25, 2010, 2:54 PM ETBy John Hollinger | ESPN.com
Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe champs may be in line for the West's top seed. But repeating won't be as easy as it may seem.As predictable as this season has been so far, we might be in for a change as we head into the postseason. Oh, not in the East, where things couldn't be any chalkier: Orlando and Cleveland seem destined for a battle royale in the conference finals, and it's likely that the only drama between now and then will come when either the Hawks or Celtics meet Milwaukee in the first round. Out West, however, it's a different story. The Lakers are running away with the top seed, leading No. 2 Dallas by six games. But that masks a new West reality: A postseason that once appeared to be the Laker Invitational now seems to be anyone's game.