by Ryne Nelson

Trying to predict the Western Conference’s final rankings is a good recipe for insanity. Never in the history of the current Playoff format has the final night of the NBA season mattered this much. Four teams can land the No. 3 seed. Three can land the No. 4 and 5 spots. The Rockets, enigmatic as ever, can be No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5 after tonight.

NBA.com just posted an excellent breakdown of all the possible scenarios for the Western Conference standings. Other than the Lakers and Jazz who are locked in for a 1-8 matchup, the other three series out west are up for grabs. No need to get out your graphing calculator, the League kindly saved us all the technicalities. But, unfortunately, they can’t save us any headaches.

How will the final seeds lock up? Your guess is as good as mine.

Western Conference seeds

1. LOS ANGELES LAKERS
2. Denver or Houston
3. Denver, Houston, Portland, or San Antonio
4. Houston, Portland, or San Antonio
5. Houston, Portland, or San Antonio
6. New Orleans or Dallas
7. New Orleans or Dallas
8. UTAH JAZZ

Note: CAPS locked into seeding.

Western Conference scenarios

Denver will be seeded:

• #2 if Nuggets win OR Rockets lose

• #3 if Nuggets lose and Rockets win

Houston will be seeded:

• #2 if Rockets win and Nuggets lose

• #3 if Rockets win and Nuggets win OR if Spurs and Blazers both lose.

• #4 if Rockets lose and either the Spurs or Blazers win (but not both)

• #5 if Rockets lose and Spurs and Blazers both win.

Portland will be seeded:

• #3 if Blazers win and Rockets and Spurs both lose.

• #4 if Blazers win and either Rockets or Spurs win (or both win) OR if Blazers and Spurs both lose.

• #5 if Blazers lose and Spurs win.

San Antonio will be seeded:

• #3 if Spurs win and Rockets lose.

• #4 if Spurs and Rockets both win and Blazers lose.

• #5 if Spurs lose OR if Rockets and Blazers both win.

New Orleans will be seeded:

• #6 if Hornets win OR if Mavericks lose.

• #7 if Hornets lose and Mavericks win.

Dallas will be seeded:

• #6 if Mavericks win and Hornets lose.

• #7 if Hornets win OR Mavericks lose.