Oklahoma City Thunder: Teams seek momentum as playoffs near

Health is a key factor in how long a team lasts in the postseason.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: April 4, 2013

With such a tight race for every seed in the Western Conference playoffs, several teams figure to enter the postseason with momentum.

But can momentum be overstated come playoff time?

“If you had a choice, you'd say, ‘Yes, I'd like momentum.' If you had a choice you'd say, ‘Yes, I'd like to be in first.' But neither one is mandatory,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said before his team's 100-88 loss to the Thunder on Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“People have won championships with the best record, and not the best record, and all that. You certainly don't want to go into the playoffs playing like a dog.”

OKC coach Scott Brooks said: “I think it's more important to be healthy. You cannot be healthy and it's going to be hard to win in the playoffs, let alone it's hard to win in the regular season. You see teams that don't have their health and they don't win as many games as they're expected to win.”

NO MANU OR JACKSON

Manu Ginobili, who will be out 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury, missed his third game against OKC this season on Thursday. Also out for San Antonio was forward Stephen Jackson, who usually draws the unenviable task of defending three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant.

“We need him (Jackson) against people like Kevin,” Popovich said. “He's got a good physicality about him, and he knows how to play that way. It's a good combination with he and Kawhi (Leonard) trying to guard Kevin — emphasize try.”

DISCOMBOBULATED SPURS

Thursday was San Antonio's fourth game in five nights, and Popovich frequently has juggled his lineup this season to offset injuries and offer rest when necessary.

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