Thunder in the News: Bold predictions to end the season

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 25: Russell Westbrook
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 25: Russell Westbrook /

With doubts of missing the Playoffs now behind us, it’s time to turn our attention to a couple end-of-season predictions.

Rejoice Thunder Nation!!! No more panicking to your coworkers at lunch, no more sleepless nights, no more binge-reading potential Lottery-pick profiles. We can breathe again – the OKC Thunder aren’t missing the Playoffs.

Last night’s victory secured Oklahoma City’s eighth Playoff appearance in the last nine years. Only one team (the San Antonio Spurs and there 21 season streak) has more in that time. New Orleans and San Antonio also won last night, keeping the Thunder in the 7th seed for at least two more days. As we’re soon about to find out, that likely won’t be the outcome.

A Thunder-Warriors first round series likely won’t happen

It’s bittersweet that we won’t get to see a Kevin Durant vs. Russell Westbrook first round Playoff series. Let’s go over the bitter reasons first.

  1. Without Steph Curry, this would be the best opportunity for Russ to claim his revenge over KD.
  2. We don’t have Finals or Bust expectations so losing a hard-fought series to the best team in basketball would be an okay consolation prize.
OKC Thunder
OAKLAND, CA – FEBRUARY 24: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors lines up on Russell Westbrook #0 of the OKC Thunder at a free-throw during their game at ORACLE Arena on February 24, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

And now the sweet:

  1. Do we really want to play Golden State – the champs in 2 of the last 3 seasons – in round one?After they just came into Oklahoma City and handled us fairly easily?
  2. If OKC can’t beat a Curry-less Warriors, will they have shown Paul George enough to keep the core together?

That’s all I need to hear to know avoiding Golden State in round one is a blessing for the Thunder.

"Things will likely change a lot in the next two days but how cool would that Warriors-Thunder matchup be?"

A Russell Westbrook season-long triple-double might though

Russ is incredible. Absolutely incredible. Sure, he’s going to stat-pad his way into another triple-double season in the last two games. But if you had the ability to grab 34 rebounds in 2 NBA games to create history, wouldn’t you?

The reigning MVP (yes I’m going to milk that for as long as possible) recorded 18 rebounds last night to pull him within 16 from a second-straight triple-double season. Do I think he’s going to do it? Yes, and a lot of that has to do with the team he’ll be facing tomorrow.

Updating you on the current Playoff standings

To wrap things up we’re going to take a look at the most up-to-date Western Conference Playoff picture. My extraordinary partner Tamberlyn Richardson has been killing it all season, but she’s really turned it up as we’ve reached the Playoffs. Instead of summarizing what she wrote, I’ll simply give you my prediction on where OKC finished.

5-seed, playing the San Antonio Spurs in Round One.

"Other than clinching seeds however the placements are virtually all still to be decided."

Next: Grading the Thunder's come-from-behind victory in Miami

That’s it for today’s issue of Thunder in the News! Two more days to establish our seeding fate, which gives you two full days to plow through all of Thunderous Intentions fantastic content. Just click those blue words and you’ll be transported to a magical portal that will keep you busy for hours.