By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: March 29, 2010

Thunder coach Scott Brooks insists all 82 games count the same, that Sunday’s game with Portland was no bigger than Tuesday’s game at Philadelphia.

Let’s see if Brooks agrees a couple of weeks from now. Let’s see if Portland’s 92-87 win over Oklahoma City on Sunday night in the Ford Center ends up being the difference between whether the Thunder plays the Lakers or a different team in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

If Oklahoma City had won Sunday night, the Thunder would have owned a two-game lead, been up three games on Portland in the loss column and would have clinched the season tiebreaker.

Instead, the Trail Blazers leave town in a three-way tie with the Thunder and San Antonio for the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 spots in the Western Conference, although OKC and the Spurs technically lead Portland by percentage points.

If it becomes a factor, the Portland-OKC tiebreaker will now be decided by a winner-take-all game April 12 in the Rose Garden the next to last game of the regular season. San Antonio already owns the tiebreaker over the Thunder.

"This would have been a huge win,” said Thunder forward Nick Collison.

OKC led only once in the second half, 51-50, on the opening basket of the third quarter. The Thunder stayed within striking range — even drew even at 84-84 with 3:55 on Serge Ibaka’s alley-oop dunk — but could never grab the lead.

"We understand it’s a tough loss for a playoff spot,” said center Nenad Krstic. "When you lose a game like this it’s tough, but you really can’t think about it. We have 10 more games left and a pretty tough schedule.”

Forward Jeff Green said he was encouraged the Thunder had a chance to win despite playing "terrible.”

"Our defense wasn’t there, especially on rebounds,” Green said. "We gave up too many second-chance opportunities, too many second-chance points.