Once again the NBA Western Conference has been more competitive than the East, and the race for the playoffs has gone down to the wire again, with the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns all battling it out for only two spaces at the bottom of the Western Conference bracket.
Memphis are ranked as the most likely to make the playoffs of the three according to the NBA Betting Odds at TopBet. This is despite the fact that they currently sit outside the playoffs, a game back of Phoenix, and two games back of Dallas. It seems like the bookies may have the odds wrong in this case, with Dallas in 7th position with only three games to play and Phoenix in 8th with only five left to play, with Memphis also having five games remaining, albeit with two very easy games against the LA Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.
All three teams feature internationals heavily in their rotations, along with American players that have made their name abroad. Goran Dragic plays a starring role for Phoenix along with role players PJ Tucker, Gerald Green and to a lesser extent Dionte Christmas who all cut their teeth in Europe. Dallas features Dirk Nowitzki, Jose Calderon and Gal Mekel, while Memphis has Marc Gasol, Nick Calathes, Kosta Koufos and Beno Udrih.
What makes the run in more fascinating is that all three team still play each other once more, Dallas play Phoenix at home (12/4) and Memphis on the road (16/4), while Phoenix will host Memphis (14/4). With everything still to play for these games will be crucial for the playoff race, and will be must watch games for all European NBA fans.
Whichever teams make it through will face a tough task in the opening round of the playoffs, with the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder likely waiting for the two teams that come through.