With the San Antonio Spurs resting players and dealing with injuries, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a chance to steal the Western Conference’s top seed from them in the last couple weeks of the season.
The Thunder beat the Spurs Thursday night to pull within a half a game and are now 7-3 over their last ten games, while Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been up to his usual unconventional roster management of resting players regardless of who the opponent is.
The opposite appears to be the case for Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant is still playing heavy minutes while in contention for his fourth consecutive scoring title. Russell Westbrook is the NBA‘s poster boy for durability and has yet to miss a single game in his career to date. Not to mention that the Thunder have enough depth to continue playing their starters and resting them for longer periods to keep them fresh for the playoffs.
The next four games for the Thunder are against teams over .500, so the task of securing the top seed won’t be an easy one. Even if the Thunder don’t get the number one seed staying in second may be a blessing in disguise. If the season were to end right now the Thunder would be matched up with the seventh seeded Houston Rockets instead of the Los Angeles Lakers, who appear to have the inside track to he eighth seed. and quiet as kept no one is looking forward to facing Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard in the first round.
The top seed is a definite possibility for the Thunder, albeit one they would be wise to let go. This is one instance where coming in second may be better than first, at least in terms of playoff seedings and match ups.