The biggest question surrounding the Western Conference and the NBA playoff race revolves around which team will ultimately claim the 1-seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves are currently tied at the top of the Western Conference playoff picture, and they will play one another for the final time this season on Wednesday night. It is not hard to believe that this battle will ultimately decide who claims the top spot in the conference.

Both teams played on Tuesday night — the Timberwolves picking up a 130-121 victory over the Washington Wizards and the Nuggets picking up a 111-95 win over the Utah Jazz.

The stage is now set for one team to pull ahead of the other, as a loss on Wednesday night could see the Timberwolves or Nuggets falling from the 1-seed to the 3-seed in the conference because of the Thunder continuing to lurk. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander healthy and back in the fold, Oklahoma City could wind up sneaking past both teams that currently find themselves tied at the top.

While Denver can pull ahead of Minnesota with a victory on Wednesday, the tiebreaker is still in play as well. The Timberwolves have won two of the first three matchups against the Nuggets, meaning that they will almost certainly claim the 1-seed in the conference with a win on the road. On the flip side of things, a win by the Nuggets pushes their season head-to-head record against Minnesota to 2-2, meaning the tiebreaker goes all the way to the division record. Should this occur, Minnesota will own the tiebreaker due to their 12-3 division record vs. Denver's 9-6 division record.

We should expect Wednesday's game to have a Game 7-like atmosphere to it. Ball Arena is always one of the best atmospheres in the NBA, and the Nuggets are the defending champions. Their fans know what is on the line, and the Nuggets have been in these types of positions before. For the Timberwolves, being at the top of the West and actually contending at the highest level possible is new.

Anthony Edwards has been fantastic this season, and he will look to match the career night he recently had against the Wizards. Edwards dropped a career-high 51 points against Washington on Tuesday. Denver's plan for the game is simple: let Nikola Jokic be great. Jokic appears to be in line to win his third MVP award over the last four seasons, but the other thing on his mind is claiming the 1-seed and winning another title.

This game on Wednesday night is the biggest on the schedule and will have a direct impact on both the NBA standings and the playoff picture in the Western Conference.

Mavericks vs. Heat (7:30 PM ET)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) holds up his hand before heading towards the team bench against the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter at the Chase Center.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a 130-104 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, the Dallas Mavericks will conclude their quick Eastern Conference road trip on Wednesday night against the Miami Heat. Dallas has been one of the hottest teams in the league in recent weeks, as they have won 15 of their last 17 games. Luka Doncic has recorded eight straight double-doubles, including three triple-doubles. He has scored at least 25 points in nine straight games. The Mavs can keep their hopes of possibly dethroning the No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA playoff picture with a win over Miami on Wednesday.

  • The Mavericks can clinch the Southwest Division with a win over Miami.
  • Dallas currently leads the No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans by two games. They also trail the No. 4 Clippers by two games.
  • A win over Miami and a loss by the Clippers moves Dallas one game back of Los Angeles for the 4-seed.
  • A loss to Miami and a win by the Clippers means Dallas can't be higher than the 5-seed entering the playoffs.

Spurs vs. Thunder (8:00 PM ET)

Even though they are out of playoff contention, Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs have been a tough opponent for many teams this season, including the Thunder. San Antonio versus Oklahoma City may just be the new, budding rivalry in the Western Conference, and Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren will be matched up against one another for years to come. The Spurs stole their last meeting against the Thunder, and they could play the role of spoiler against OKC with the 1-seed in the West on the line. On the flip side of things, the Thunder are looking to handle business and take advantage of the Nuggets and Timberwolves facing one another on Wednesday.

  • The Thunder trail the Timberwolves and Nuggets by one game for the 1-seed.
  • A win over the Spurs puts the Thunder into a tie for the 2-seed with the loser of Timberwolves-Nuggets.
  • A loss to the Spurs puts the Thunder one game behind the loser of Timberwolves-Nuggets with two games left.
  • The Thunder own the tiebreaker over Denver, but Minnesota currently holds the tiebreaker over Oklahoma City.

Timberwolves vs. Nuggets (10:00 PM ET)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) controls the ball away from Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) in the second half at Ball Arena.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The matchup of the week features the Timberwolves hitting the road to play the Nuggets in the battle for the 1-seed in the Western Conference. The winner of this matchup has the inside track to claim the Western Conference's top spot in the NBA playoff picture, and they will own home-court advantage potentially leading up to the NBA Finals. The Timberwolves have played well against Denver this season, which is why Jokic and the Nuggets will be entering this matchup with a little extra fire. It is worth mentioning that Karl-Anthony Towns, who is on the verge of returning from his knee injury, will not be playing in this game.

  • The Timberwolves and Nuggets are tied at the top of the Western Conference playoff picture.
  • A win over the Nuggets moves the Timberwolves into sole possession of the 1-seed. Minnesota would own the outright tiebreaker with a win.
  • A win over the Timberwolves moves the Nuggets into sole possession of the 1-seed. Minnesota would still occupy the tiebreaker for the moment.
  • A loss by either team, plus a win by the Thunder, moves the loser of this game into a tie with Oklahoma City for the 2-seed in the West.

Suns vs. Clippers (10:30 PM ET)

The Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers just played one another in the desert on Tuesday night. The Clippers won this game 105-92 after leading the Suns by as many as 37 points in the first half. Now, the Suns will be looking to get revenge on the road against the Clippers, as these two teams will swap arenas for their second game in as many nights. This is a game that definitely has big NBA playoff picture implications, as the Clippers can put a bow on the 4-seed in the conference with a win. The Suns, on the other hand, find themselves in the play-in region of the standings after Tuesday's loss to the Clippers. Phoenix desperately needs a win if they are to have a chance at earning an actual playoff spot and not having to go through the play-in tournament.

  • The Clippers can clinch the 4-seed in the West with a win over Phoenix.
  • The Suns are one game back of the No. 6 Pelicans, and one game ahead of the No. 8 Sacramento Kings in the West standings.
  • A win over the Suns and a loss by the Thunder moves the Clippers two games behind the Thunder for the 3-seed.
  • A loss to the Suns and a win by the Mavs puts the Clippers one game ahead of the Mavs for the 4-seed.
  • A win over the Clippers moves the Suns a half-game behind the No. 6 Pelicans.
  • A loss to the Clippers puts the Suns just a half-game ahead of the Kings for the 7-seed.