Thunder should make playoffs
If you place much stock in ESPN’s John Hollinger’s daily playoff projections, Oklahoma City is one of the favorites to earn one of the Western Conference’s eight post-season berths.
Hollinger compiles a computer formula that plugs in games already played, then plays out the remainder of the season 5,000 times. Using the median result, Hollinger gives OKC an 83 percent chance of making the playoffs, finishing 48-34 to earn the No. 6 seed in the West.
That’s a dramatic turnaround for a team that was 23-59 a year ago.
Most pre-season predictions had the Thunder winning between 30 and 35 games. In one of the more shocking developments in the NBA, the Thunder will be fairly close to that win total by the All-Star break.
Oklahoma City has a small cushion in the standings. The Thunder, currently in the No. 7 spot, owns only a half-game lead over No. 8 Portland and a two-game lead over No. 9 Houston. But that’s where Hollinger’s projections have more validity than some give credit.
Hollinger’s computer knows the easiest portion of the Thunder’s schedule is the first month after the All-Star break.
The first five weeks after the break, the Thunder has a better win-loss record than 13 of its next 19 opponents and two of the other games are against San Antonio, which has only a half-game lead on OKC.
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