It was a good news/bad news type situation for the Thunder, who sat idle, on Friday night. Portland blew a comfortable lead in Philly to drop a half a game behind OKC but the Lakers were able to defend their home court against Toronto which prevented Oklahoma City from making up any ground on the Top 10. The Thunder will be able to speak for themselves tonight as they visit New Orleans for an opportunity to make up their one-game deficit on the Pelicans. OKC is in striking distance but can they take advantage of it?
Besides the action in the Big Easy this evening there are a handful of other games around the league that could impact Oklahoma City’s push for the postseason.
Knicks at Clippers (3:00 PM) – The Clippers have taken advantage of teams losing to move up to the #5 spot in the West. They’ve only won twice in their last seven games but could put together a 3-game winning streak by taking out the Knicks in LA. Oklahoma City is just three games behind the Clippers and will play in LA on the 21st and 23rd of this month. The Clippers are 4.5-point favorites against the Knicks.
Utah at Charlotte (6:00 PM) – Thunder fans will be Hornets fans in this one. The Jazz are just a half a game ahead of OKC and currently in the #11 spot. A loss for Utah, coupled with a win for OKC in New Orleans, would be huge for the Thunder! The Jazz are 2.5-point favorites against the Hornets.
Dallas at Memphis (7:00 PM) – This game is included for the same reasons the Clippers are. OKC is actually a half game closer to the Mavericks, at the #6 spot, than they are the Clippers and Dallas is a 5.5-point road underdog tonight. A Thunder win, and losses by the Jazz and Mavericks could end up being one of those, “the stars are aligning” type moments.
Milwaukee at Golden State (7:30 PM) – Speaking of teams that are in reach, the Warriors (who lost at OKC on March 8) have slip down to the #7 spot, putting them in the Play-In Tournament as of right now. Currently, that’s were OKC wants to be (one of those bottom four seeds) and the Warriors playing the best team in the East could be beneficial towards the Thunder gaining ground. Golden State is a 1-point favorite against the Bucks
Huge Implications For Tonight
I don’t think you want to use the “must win” tag just yet in describing Oklahoma City’s game at New Orleans tonight but it’s a pretty big opportunity. Obviously you can only control what you can control so winning against the Pelicans takes president over everything else, but it also potentially sets a series of events in motion that could propel the Thunder into the Top 10.
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