Hollinger's Insider Gems: Jan. 28, 2009

1. The bar is slowly dropping in the West. Whereas we once thought it would take a win total in the high 40s to qualify for the postseason, it appears something in the 44 area might be enough to get it done.

You can blame the recent struggles of Dallas, Phoenix and Utah for that. While the top six Western teams remain on target for 50 wins, according to the Playoff Odds, those three have fallen off the pace. Each is stuck on 25 wins, and while the odds still bet against Dallas the strongest, it appears one of this trio will be the unlucky No. 9 seed out West -- the top six each rate as better than a 95 percent chance to make the postseason.