The Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t have to do anything to clinch a playoff spot.
That’s not entirely true … there’s the matter of those 53 NBA basketball games they’ve won this season that the Thunder probably had a little something to do with.
But the clinching itself was anticlimactic; when the Dallas Mavericks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night—Dallas’ 30th loss—that did the math to push OKC into the postseason for the fifth straight season, making it five of the six seasons since the franchise moved from Seattle in 2008.
But the Thunder will have some tough sledding ahead in their remaining 10 games, with a home game against the white-hot San Antonio Spurs on April 3 and road games remaining at Houston, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Clippers and Indiana.
The finishing stretch also includes home games with the Jazz, the Pelicans and the Pistons and road games at Sacramento and New Orleans.
Coach Scott Brooks isn’t likely to let up on the throttle until Oklahoma City officially clinches the Northwest Division title for the fourth straight year. Their magic number is two; any combination of Thunder wins and Portland losses that add up to two will end the divisional race. As far as securing the No. 2 seed in the West, the Thunder lead the Clippers by 2½ games with a magic number of seven to clinch the spot.
San Antonio has a three-game lead over Oklahoma City for the top seed in the West and the tragic number for the Thunder (or the magic number for the Spurs, if you’re a glass-half-full sort) is seven, as well.
After a 2-1 week, Oklahoma City is 53-19. The week included a win over the Nuggets on Monday, an overtime loss at Dallas on Tuesday and a win over the Kings on Friday.
Here is the week that was, including game reviews, some news and notes, injury updates, rookie watch, and player of the week selection, as well as a look ahead to next week’s action (all statistical information from NBA.com/Stats):