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OKC Thunder: Everyone but the Thunder — or so players say — is keeping track of standings

If Oklahoma City’s recent struggles continue, it could drop to third place in the Western Conference standings and face tougher playoff matchups.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 7, 2014
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photo - Coach Scott Brooks and the Oklahoma City Thunder enter Tuesday’s game at Sacramento just a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the Western Conference’s No. 3 seed. 
                  Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Coach Scott Brooks and the Oklahoma City Thunder enter Tuesday’s game at Sacramento just a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the Western Conference’s No. 3 seed. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

The Clippers, meanwhile, have gone 18-5 since the break while demolishing teams by 9.1 points on average.

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.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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