The next three-game stretch for the Oklahoma City Thunder will be a good test before heading into the playoffs. The combined record for the next three teams they play, the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks, is 147-70.
The first game of the stretch against the Spurs will provide the Thunder with a chance to send a message before the playoffs begin. The Thunder are 1-2 against the Spurs this season, but they are still only two games back with eight games left in the regular season. This game is a must-win if the Thunder want to have confidence going into the playoffs. They have not lost at home to the Spurs since the end of last year’s regular season.
A win against the Spurs would also get the Thunder within one game of the top spot in the west. If you do not think that home court advantage is huge going into the Western Conference Finals, then think again. The Spurs and Thunder both have trouble beating each other on the road, meaning it might come down to game 7 in the series– assuming both of these teams make it to the Western Conference Finals.
The Thunder cannot overlook the Pacers or Knicks as well in the the upcoming three-game stretch. The Thunder should want to make a statement to two of the East’s top teams. Both the Pacers and Knicks have a decent chance of shocking the Miami Heat and going to the NBA Finals, possibly meeting up with the Thunder.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will have to contribute great showings to close out the remainder of the season. The Thunder have relied on them both heavily offensively this season– almost too heavily. They are having trouble finding somebody outside of Westbrook and Durant to score on a nightly basis. The key for the Thunder is finding somebody they can rely on to score the ball consistently. If that does not happen, then they will not be successful in this tough three-game stretch, and they ultimately will not reach their goal of becoming NBA champions.