Earlier today, I gave my predictions for the 1st round of the Eastern Conference NBA playoffs. Now it’s time for the Western Conference. Every playoff team in the West won at least 50 games, which is quite a difference from the Eastern Conference.

  Kobe Bryant #24 Of The Los Angeles Lakers Goes

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#1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #8 Oklahoma City Thunder

The Lakers won 57 games this year, and have one of, if not the best player in the NBA, Kobe Bryant. Oklahoma City is no pushover though. The Thunder won 50 games this year, a 27 game improvement from last year. Kevin Durant averaged 30.1 points per game this season and they believe they can win this series. If only they weren’t play the Lakers, they’d have a great shot of advancing.

Lakers in 6

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs. #7 San Antonio Spurs

A few years ago, you’d think this was a Western Conference Final match-up. The Spurs struggled with injuries this year and are getting up there in age. They could have another run in them if they got past Dallas, and nobody would want to see them in the 2nd round. However, Dirk Nowitzki played so well this year, and he’ll continue to carry the Mavs on his back, but it won’t be easy vs. Duncan and the Spurs.

Mavericks in 7

#3 Phoenix Suns vs. #6 Portland Trail Blazers

The Sun were outstanding all season and so was Portland, but Brandon Roy’s knee injury really put a damper on their playoff chances. With Roy they have a fantastic chance of making a run through the West. Without Brandon Roy, they have no chance of beating Phoenix, no matter how good Marcus Camby plays.

Suns in 5

#4 Denver Nuggets vs. #5 Utah Jazz

The absence of George Karl has really hurt the Nuggets. They’ve struggled since he’s had to take a leave of absence, and while they’re playing inspired basketball in honor of him, I don’t know that they’re able to win a series without him. Utah, however, struggles on the road. They have for several seasons and this year, not much was different. If Utah can find a way to win a game or two in Denver it won’t be difficult to get to the 2nd round. I think Utah finds a way to steal one in Denver and will take care of business at home.

Utah in 7

This would set up for the Lakers to meet the Jazz in Round 2, along with the Mavericks and the Suns.

What are your predictions for the West?