With eight games left in the regular season, the Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves just a game and a half back of the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference.
The Spurs lost last night 88-86 to a LeBron James and Dwyane Wade-less Miami Heat team.
Now Many Ginobili is going to be out for the next three-to-four weeks and could miss the start of the playoffs. Also, Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard will not play tonight as the Spurs play at the Memphis Grizzlies.
Meanwhile, the Thunder are off until Thursday when they will play the Spurs in Oklahoma City, who will have played three games from the time the Thunder played their last game.
Not only is there a good chance the Spurs will lose tonight, but they will be coming to OKC tired and the Thunder may have a very good chance of overtaking them for the No. 1 seed on that night.
The Thunder definitely need to win Thursday because the Spurs already hold a 2-1 season series lead on the Thunder.
The Spurs have a tougher remaining schedule than the Thunder too. They have to play Atlanta after the Thunder and then go at the Nuggets, Lakers and Warriors. There is a good chance that Gregg Popovich will continue to be resting his players the last few weeks of the regular season as well.
The Thunder basically never rest their players which gives them a huge advantage over the Spurs in finishing with the best record in the conference.
We already pretty much know that the Spurs don’t care about the one-seed. They had it last year and still lost to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals but they are still a proven team on the road. They will be more concerned with the health of their guys.
The Thunder may want this one-seed really badly. They have been shaky of late and they will need every advantage possible to advance to the NBA Finals for the second straight season. Expect the Thunder to be chasing this best record as hard as they can.
We will get pretty good idea of who will end up getting the one-seed after Thursday night’s game. It’s essentially a must-win for the Thunder and they normally come through on those when playing at home.