Are you ready for another Thunder-Laker playoff series? Could happen. Especially after the results Wednesday.
The Spurs lost to Denver, putting the Thunder back in control of the race for the No. 1 seed. The Thunder’s magic number is four. Any combination of four Thunder wins or Spur losses makes OKC the No. 1 seed. The Spurs’ magic number is five, so the race isn’t over. But clearly the Thunder is in command.
Meanwhile, the Lakers took control of the race with Utah for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, winning at Portland. Same deal in this race as Thunder-Spurs. The Laker magic number is three, Portland’s is four.
Basketball-reference.com has calculated the playoff probabilities and now gives the Thunder a 58.3 percent chance of finishing atop the Spurs and the Lakers a 79.5 percent chance of finishing atop the Jazz. That means a 46.3 percent of a Thunder-Laker first-round playoff series. The Lakers would love that — but only because it would mean a playoff berth. It’s a horrible matchup for LA. The Thunder has the interior defense to match up with the Laker strength of Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard inside, has a perimeter defender in Thabo Sefolosha who can at least get in Kobe Bryant’s way and, most importantly, young legs that will run the Lakers ragged. LA can’t defend even the West’s mid-level point guards. The Lakers have no hope for Russell Westbrook.