All things considered, last night was lose to a “best case scenario” for Oklahoma City. The Thunder were blown out by the Suns, on the road, but Portland also lost at Boston (115-93) so OKC didn’t really drop. They started, and ended, the day in the #11 spot in the West. What did hurt them though was New Orleans beating Dallas. The Thunder, Trail Blazers, and Jazz are all tied at 31-35 and the Pelicans have broken away from the pack at 32-34 to draw even with the Lakers in the #10 and #9 spots. OKC and the pack now sit a full game back behind those final two spots.
The Thunder are off tonight but there are a couple of games worth keeping an eye on, in terms of how they might affect Oklahoma City’s playoff push.
Utah at Orlando (6:00 PM) – The Thunder can’t rise or fall from the results of this game but OKC’s current three-way tie could become a two-way tie should the Magic win at home. Orlando is a three-point favorite here and could do Oklahoma City a solid by pushing the Jazz down to the #12 spot.
Golden State at Memphis (6:30 PM) – The Grizzlies are pretty much out of reach for OKC but the Warriors aren’t. There are only three games separating the Thunder and Golden State and, at this point, any team in, or near, the bottom five of the West that falls is a good think for Oklahoma City.
The Thunder have a huge opportunity ahead of them on Saturday evening when they play at New Orleans. A win there would allow them to make up a one game difference with the Pelicans.
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