Thursday , Feb , 28 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Denver Nuggets on the Outside Looking In for West Playoffs?

Fifty wins just aren’t what they used to be, are they? Eight teams in the Western Conference are on track to put 50 Ws in the bank. A ninth team, Denver, also isn’t far off the pace to reach a mark that usually guarantees a playoff berth.Overall, 10 teams (including fading Portland) are fighting for only eight postseason invitations. There’s a good chance that at least one West team will become the best non-playoff club in league history, a distinction held by the 45-win Rockets of 2000-01.

With a little more than a quarter of the season left, let’s handicap one of the NBA’s best playoff races in recent memory (the difference between the conference leader and the No. 9 team was only 6½ games entering Wednesday’s play). Below we assess each contender’s chances of reaching the postseason, based on the games left as of Wednesday morning. Click here for more from Sports