OKC Thunder: Potential playoff matchups are beginning to formulate

Oklahoman staff writer Anthony Slater breaks down the five teams the Thunder could be squaring off with come late April.
by Anthony Slater Published: March 26, 2014

As the NBA regular-season hits its stretch run, potential playoff matchups are beginning to formulate.

Western Conference seeding, both at the top and bottom, remain up for grabs. But over the course of the season, clear conference tiers have been established. And with it, a select group of teams have emerged as potential first round foes for the Thunder.

Here is a breakdown of the five teams OKC could be squaring off with come late April, from most to least likely:

Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 42-28

Vs OKC: 1-3

Current seed: Seventh

Appeal: Avoid at all costs

Evaluation: The Thunder would be favored in this series. And OKC would likely win it. But five, six or even seven grueling games against Memphis’ bruising frontline and hounding perimeter defense would take a physical toll. And that might be a problem with three series still to go. Plus, the Grizzlies are the most battle-tested of this bunch, with fresh memories of knocking the Thunder out last season.

Dallas Mavericks

Record: 43-29

Vs OKC: 2-1

Current seed: Eighth

Appeal: High

Evaluation: Don’t let the last 10 days fool you. The Thunder lost both of its most recent matchups with the Mavs, but it’s still a team OKC stacks up well against, beating them the previous 11 times. Dallas is scrappy, skilled and well-coached. The Mavs have overachieved all season. But in an amped up playoff series, the Thunder would outathlete them.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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