How the race shakes out could now be the difference between whether the Thunder makes the Finals or suffers a second-round exit.
Of course, the one-day-at-a-time-minded Thunder refuses to publicly concede the matter as a concern. The organizational-wide mentality is to make the most of each opportunity and live with the results.
“We focus every game,” Brooks said. “That’s one of the things that we talk about. Every game our job is to do our best and win the game. We’re not worried about other teams. We only control how we play...We have to play better in Sacramento.”
The Kings game, of course, is now a must-win. The Thunder has a 3-0 series lead over Sacramento, winning by two, 15 and 13 points. But Oklahoma City can’t afford to have a letdown.
Following Wednesday’s game against the Thunder, the Clippers have just three games remaining. All appear to be winnable. They host Sacramento on Saturday before closing out the regular season with a home-road back-to-back against Denver and Portland.
The Thunder will still have four games left after Wednesday’s game in L.A. Three of them — New Orleans twice and Detroit — appear to be trouble-free. But keep an eye on April 13. It’s a road game against Indiana that could be critical.