OKC Thunder: What you've seen is likely what you'll get

Back from a six-game road trip, the Thunder's strength of schedule is at .500 right now. Here are the factors that will impact the rest of the season.
By John Rohde Modified: January 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm •  Published: January 29, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant, left, and Kendrick Perkins smile as the relax on the bench in the closing moment of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. The Thunder won 105-95. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) ORG XMIT: SCA115
Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant, left, and Kendrick Perkins smile as the relax on the bench in the closing moment of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. The Thunder won 105-95. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) ORG XMIT: SCA115

- Far more subtle in its significance is a team's schedule.

Who a team plays, and where, often become the biggest factors in determining playoff seeds.

Teams that already have played a difficult schedule this season will face a less difficult schedule the rest of the way.

This is good news for the Lakers, who have the league's No. 2 strength of schedule to date at .520, according to ESPN.com's Relative Percent Index. SOS also will benefit No. 3 Memphis (.519), No. 4 Denver (.516), No. 5 San Antonio (.514) and No. 6 Golden State (.513).

This is not such good news for No. 29 Chicago (.484), No. 28 Indiana (.485), No. 25 Atlanta (.487), No. 20 New York (.495), nor Brooklyn and defending world champion Miami, who are tied at No. 15 (.498).

Every team ends up playing 41 games at home and on the road, but the discrepancy between the two at this point cannot be ignored (see chart).

The Thunder's overall strength of schedule to date has been exactly .500, which essentially translates to what you've seen is what you'll get from OKC the rest of the way.

If the Thunder maintains its current winning percentage of .756, that would equate to a 62-20 season and the West's No. 2 seed behind 63-19 San Antonio if the Spurs maintain at .766 while playing an easier remaining schedule.


HOME/AWAY

Here is the home/away breakdown for Western Conference playoff contenders, ranked by home/away differential in remaining games:

TEAM; HOME; AWAY; SOS; H/A DIFF

Utah; 15-4; 9-16; .487; +6

Denver; 17-3; 10-15; .516; +5

San Antonio; 20-2; 16-9; .514; +3

Golden State; 14-6; 12-11; .513; +3

Thunder; 19-3; 15-8; .500; +1

Houston; 15-8; 9-14; .512; 0

Portland; 15-8; 7-14; .497; -2

LA Clippers; 20-5; 13-8; .510; -4

LA Lakers; 14-10; 5-15; .520; -4

Memphis; 17-7; 11-8; .519; -5

Note: Through Monday's games. SOS is strength of schedule for games played to date.

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