The Los Angeles Daily News (Elliot Teaford) reports: Kobe Bryant then suggested it might be time to alter the playoff format in order to reward the Western Conference, which has proved again this season to be deeper and more competitive than the Eastern Conference. Bryant likes the idea of taking the top 16 teams regardless of their conference affiliation, although he admitted the travel might be difficult if the Lakers had to face the Atlanta Hawks or the New Jersey Nets in the first round. “It would make for a more exciting playoff matchup,” he said. “I just think there’s been such a power shift to the Western Conference, with these great teams. The Eastern Conference has a lot of catching up to do.”