Ramifications of Spurs loss
Three losses the last four games have essentially squashed the Thunder’s chances of earning the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the playoffs.
Oklahoma City is still in the running for the No. 4 seed. But it probably will take 53 or 54 wins to finish in the top four which means the Thunder would have to go 11-2 or 12-1 the rest of the season which isn’t realistic because of a demanding schedule.
Despite a recent tailspin — the Thunder’s worst week in more than two months — the sky isn’t falling. The Thunder will make the playoffs. Oklahoma City probably could go 4-9 the rest of the season and get in. A 3-10 or 2-11 finish might even be enough. That’s the cushion they built by going 17-3 over a six-week span.
The impact of losses to Charlotte (blowing a 19-point lead), Indiana (the biggest embarrassment all season) and San Antonio (couldn’t sustain early 14-point lead) is seeding.
Analyzing Western Conference contenders’ schedules, the best guess is Oklahoma City will still finish as the No. 6 seed. The Spurs’ win Monday, though, could make it a battle for the No. 6 and No. 7 spots. San Antonio now owns the tiebreaker which will force OKC to finish one game ahead of the Spurs.
San Antonio and Oklahoma City have the two most difficult schedules down the stretch which could give Portland an opportunity to climb as high as No. 6. The Spurs’ schedule is absolutely brutal.
After playing the Hawks and Thunder, the Spurs host the Lakers and Cleveland then end the week with a road game Sunday at Boston. And San Antonio still has to play Orlando, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas and has another game with the Lakers.
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