The San Antonio Spurs beat the Portland Trailblazers 124-89 last night locking up the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will now be the two-seed in the West. With just two games left in the regular season they will not be able to catch the Spurs.
This may actually be a blessing for the Thunder, who had the best record in the conference for most of the season. As the two-seed, the Thunder would avoid Memphis and the Clippers until the conference finals.
Instead Oklahoma City would likely see the Lakers in the second round, a team they match up much better with than the Grizzlies and Clippers.
The biggest detriment to dropping to the two-seed is if the Thunder meet the Spurs in the conference finals. Playing those first two games in San Antonio makes that series sound a lot tougher.
Also, the Thunder might be matched up with the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in the first round who knocked Oklahoma City out of the playoffs last season. Dallas isn’t the same team this year without Tyson Chandler but they still pose a tough matchup for the Thunder.
James Harden is likely to miss the final two games of the regular season and maybe more. If Harden is not entirely healthy against Dallas, that series will suddenly not be so easy.
It would have been great for the Thunder to lock up the top seed but it may work out better the way it is unfolding now. The Spurs are by far the greatest threat in the conference to the Thunder and they will have an extremely tough test in the second round whether it’s Memphis or the Clippers.
Whatever the seedings are the Thunder need to start playing better basketball if they’re serious about getting to the NBA Finals this season.