- 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.