Yahoo! Sports: Lakers forward Lamar Odom is convinced there won’t be any big surprises in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Odom isn’t making any predictions, nor is he disrespecting the Denver Nuggets and the other so-called underdogs. He just believes the conference’s eight playoff teams are so evenly matched that anything can happen.

The final regular-season standings support that premise.

“The eighth seed could have been the first seed. The second seed could have been the seventh seed,” Odom said Saturday after the Lakers completed preparations for their first-round matchup with the Nuggets. “Everybody was kind of shocked that Golden State beat Dallas (in the first round last spring). I don’t think we’ll have that this year.

“Every team is highly qualified. Ever since I started watching basketball, I can’t remember a race this tight.”

The Lakers earned the top seed in the West by winning eight of their final nine games, giving them 57 victories. Five other teams in the West had at least 54 wins, and the Nuggets earned the eighth and final berth by winning 50 games for the first time in 20 years.