PHOENIX — Each passing day, the Thunder seems to have a different potential pairing for the opening round of the playoffs.
Will OKC open against Denver for the second straight season?
Perhaps a possible rematch against the world champion Dallas Mavericks will come in the first round rather than the Western Conference Finals.
Houston possibly awaits, and the Rockets surprisingly split their four regular-season meetings against OKC.
Utah is another first-round candidate.
The Thunder's opening playoff opponent also could be the Phoenix Suns, the team it faces Wednesday at 9 p.m. at US Airways Center.
Winners of four of their last six games, the Suns now sit as the No. 8 seed in the West. Phoenix (32-29) split with Houston 2-2 this season, but currently owns tiebreaker because of a better conference record.
The Thunder (44-17) and San Antonio (43-16) continue to jockey for the No. 1 seed, which makes Phoenix a possible opponent when the playoffs commence a week from Saturday.
Then again, the way OKC performed in the second half of Monday night's 92-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, the Thunder couldn't care less who it opens with in the playoffs.
Oddly enough, that's precisely how coach Scott Brooks wants his team to think.
For the last two weeks, Brooks has preached to his players that no matter who the first-round opponent turns out to be, the key to success is all about themselves.
Self-improvement is foremost for the Thunder, primarily with better defense. Brooks views this as fact, not coach-speak.
In Brooks' eyes, defense is paramount. No need to concentrate on the offense, which presumably will always be there thanks to two-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, super human sidekick Russell Westbrook and pending Sixth Man of the Year James Harden.
But then came Monday's second-half debacle against the Clippers that left everyone shaking their heads, at least momentarily.
The second-half numbers against the Clippers were so atrocious, they were hard to fathom even one day later after the Thunder arrived in the desert and basked in 90-degree heat.
The following were all season lows for OKC from Monday night: 25 points in a half; 11 points in the fourth quarter; 27 field goals made; .375 field-goal percentage for the game; 0 for 11 from 3-point range in a half; .290 field-goal percentage for a half.
It also was the Thunder's largest margin of defeat, thanks to being nearly being doubled-up on the scoreboard in the second half, 49-25. All this after OKC led 52-43 at halftime.
Despite Monday's second-half implosion, the Thunder remains the most efficient offense in the league, according to ESPN's John Hollinger.
The Thunder originally had a practice scheduled for early Tuesday afternoon in Phoenix. Instead, players were given the day off with an optional day of weight training.
Players were not made available for interviews, but perhaps Brooks opted for a day off to help players clear their minds.
Thunder at Phoenix
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday
Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722)
Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM
Three things to know
* The Thunder is 2-0 against the Suns this season, with both victories coming in OKC: 107-97 on New Year's Eve and 115-104 on March 7.
* Russell Westbrook averaged 24.5 points, 7.0 assists and 3.0 steals and shot 54.3 percent from the field against Phoenix the first two games.
* Westbrook, Kevin Durant (21.0), James Harden (20.0), Serge Ibaka (13.0) and Thabo Sefolosha (12.0) have averaged double-digits vs. the Suns.