The Thunder will be the 2-seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
Oklahoma City's fate was sealed Monday night when the Spurs rolled at home, 124-89, over Portland to move to 48-16 and earn the No. 1 seed in the West.
With the Spurs securing the top seed, it assures San Antonio will have home-court advantage through the Western Conference Finals if the Spurs make it that far. That means that any and all potential Game 7s through at least the conference finals will be played on the Spurs home court.
The Thunder will face the 7-seed, which will either be Dallas or Denver depending on how the final handful of games plays out for each of those teams. OKC, however, will have home-court advantage in that first-round series, as well as a potential second-round matchup with the winner between the 3-seed and the 6-seed.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK SLUMPING
After a career-best March, guard Russell Westbrook has hit a slump in April.
Westbrook is averaging 20.7 points on just 38.4 percent shooting in 13 games this month. In 16 April games, Westbrook averaged 26.6 points on 49.2 percent shooting, both career-highs in any month.
On Sunday against the Lakers, Westbrook shot just 3-of-22 from the field but finished with 14 points and 10 assists for his seventh double-double of the year.
“It was a tough night for me all night long,” Westbrook said. “But regardless of what's going on, I still got to be able to run my team. That's my job and that's what I try to do. Unfortunately I didn't do a great job of that (Sunday).”
OKC A ‘PROTOTYPICAL' DEFENSIVE TEAM?
Lakers coach Mike Brown, known as a defensive-oriented coach, said the Thunder doesn't get enough credit for the defense it has played this season.
“They should, because Scott Brooks has done a nice job there,” Brown said. “You talk about having the right pieces on your team to be a very good defensive team, if not the best in the league.
“When you look at their team you think that's a prototypical defensive team because they've got size but with the size they have athletic quickness. And so they should be able to play defense any way shape or form that they want to because of the pieces that they have. And it's starting to show, especially as the year has gone along, in the different categories that you look at.”
BY THE NUMBERS
2-0: The Thunder's record without James Harden in the lineup.
3-1: The Thunder's record in overtime games.
7-1: The Thunder's final record on Sundays.
16.8: Harden's points average this season, a career-high.
18-0: The Thunder's record when shooting at least 50 percent.
21-12: The Thunder's final road record.
36.6: Field-goal percentage against the Lakers, a season-low.
50:34: Minutes played by Kevin Durant on Sunday.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on the vicious Metta World Peace elbow to James Harden: “I can't speculate (how many games World Peace will be suspended). I'm sure he'll have some type of a suspension. And James, I hope he's OK. I haven't heard anything about how he's doing, but he's one of my favorite players in the league, one of my young boys, so I hope he's doing all right.”
The Thunder returns to Chesapeake Energy Arena after a five-game road trip to close out the regular season with a two-game home stand. Oklahoma City will play Sacramento on Tuesday before closing the regular season against Denver on Wednesday. Tipoff for the Kings game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
By Darnell Mayberry