With the race for first place in the Western Conference playoffs being over for the most part, San Antonio Spurs fans are starting to turn their attention to the teams currently in the seventh, eighth, and ninth spots in the playoff race, hoping for the best matchup for the Spurs.
There are three teams battling it out for the right to face the Spurs in the first round in the playoffs, and each team presents its own challenges -- the New Orleans Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Houston Rockets.
Granted there are plenty of games left in the regular season and these three teams may shuffle in playoff positioning. So let's take a closer look at these potential first round foes.
Hornets -- currently in seventh place:
No one in the NBA can run a team like Chris Paul in my opinion. He is a nightmare to guard off the dribble even with him being slowed down with a knee brace. He can absolutely shred defenses when he is at full strength. The Hornets also have smallish but skilled big guys with David West and Carl Landry.
But the key word there is "small." The Hornets aren't big enough down low to be really competitive in a seven-game series with the Spurs. West, Landry and Emeka Okafor are a nice trio but they'll get beaten up on the boards by the Spurs' bigs. If the Spurs are fortunate enough to land the Hornets in the first-round, I think it would be over in five games.
Grizzlies -- currently in eighth place: