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

Phoenix Suns

Record: 42-29

Vs OKC: 1-1

Current seed: Ninth

Appeal: Ideal

Evaluation: Projected as one of the worst teams in the preseason, Phoenix has been the feel-good story of the NBA year. And despite some slippage of late, the Suns are hanging in the playoff hunt. With a tough schedule to end the season, it’s tough to see them finding a way in. But if they do, the Spurs and Thunder would be waiting with open arms. Phoenix is fun and explosive, with a bright future. But it’s tough to see them taking either of the Western Conference’s powerhouses past five games.

Portland Trail Blazers

Record: 45-27

Vs OKC: 2-2

Current seed: Fifth

Appeal: Growing by the day

Evaluation: Considering the Blazers were once a potential threat to the top seed, it’s pretty amazing they’ve fallen this far. But they’ve been that bad lately, falling in nine of their last 13 games, including losses to the Lakers and Magic. LaMarcus Aldridge’s health is a concern, and their lack of bench production has become a huge issue. Now only two games ahead of Memphis and Dallas, it’s not inconceivable to imagine them falling into a matchup with OKC. And, really, I don’t think the Thunder would mind.

Golden State Warriors

Record: 44-27

Vs OKC: 1-2

Current seed: Sixth

Appeal: Scary, but fun

Evaluation: The first two games between these two were both decided by buzzer-beaters, with the combined score of 218-218. The third was a wild shootout, where Steph Curry’s 37 points were overshadowed by Kevin Durant’s career-high 54. So, yes, a playoff matchup between these two would be great for basketball fans worldwide. But for the Thunder, it’s not a team they’d like to face until at least Round 2.

*Stats and standings are through Tuesday’s games

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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