How the West will be seeded

Of the seeds in question in the down-to-the-wire Western Conference, the No. 6 seed could be the first to be resolved tonight when the Memphis Grizzlies, currently seventh, play at the No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers.

A Portland win means the Blazers will be locked in at No. 6. A Grizzlies win means the teams will be deadlocked with Memphis owning the tiebreaker and everything coming down to the final day of the season on Wednesday. If that's the case, the Grizzlies might have the easier go. They finish up at the Los Angeles Clippers, while the Blazers play at the Golden State Warriors, who have been beating everyone of late, including a trouncing of the Blazers in Portland last week.

The Dallas Mavericks will have their eyes on the Memphis-Portland matchup as well as the showdown in Los Angeles between the No. 1-seed San Antonio Spurs and the slip-sliding Los Angeles Lakers, who have lost five in a row. That skid allowed the Mavs to take over the No. 2 seed Monday night by a half-game with a less-than-impressive overtime win over the shorthanded Houston Rockets.

A Lakers loss would pave the way for the Mavs to claim the No. 2 seed with a win Wednesday at home over the reeling New Orleans Hornets, who look to be on their way to the No. 8 seed and date with the Spurs.

Does that mean the Mavs become Spurs fans tonight?

"No, not necessarily," Mavs guard Jason Terry said. "I could care less."

The Mavs haven't seemed to put much stock in the No. 2 seed, which would provide homecourt advantage in a potential second-round series with the Lakers. Two L.A. wins would clinch it for the Lakers.

Of course, still not out of the picture for the No. 3 seed is the hot Oklahoma City Thunder, who have won five in a row and scored 120 points in victories against the the Lakers and the Sacramento Kings over the past two nights. A Mavs loss Wednesday to the Hornets combined with a Thunder home win over the Milwaukee Bucks would give OKC the No. 3 seed and Dallas the No. 4 seed. (The Thunder could even be the No. 2 seed if the Lakers lose out and the Mavs fall to the Hornets.)

While the Eastern Conference matchups are set, in the West only the Spurs and Denver Nuggets, the No. 5 seed, know their position can't change.

After tonight, the West picture will come into better focus, but final seeding will go down to the very end.