How stretch schedule could affect OKC Thunder final seeding

Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder shoots over Harrison Barnes #40 (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder shoots over Harrison Barnes #40 (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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OKC THunder
OKC Thunder (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

TI dives into the closing schedules for the OKC Thunder and their opponents with a view to how it could affect final seeding.

Week 18 witnessed teams returning from the break to enter the stretch run phase of the 2019-20 campaign. The OKC Thunder began their efforts on Friday with a huge win over the Denver Nuggets and then dropped a beating on their nemesis the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

Strategy plays a role for all clubs whether they are aiming to secure a specific seed, avoid a certain opponent or conversely fall down the ladder for a better lottery pick.

Milwaukee is poised to capture the top seed in the Eastern Conference and finish with the best record in the NBA having already secured their playoff participation despite eight weeks remaining in the regular season.

In the Western Conference, the Lakers hold a sizeable edge as well but probably won’t catch the Bucks for the best overall record however they’ll need to keep an eye on the Raptors who are flirting with taking over the second-best record in the NBA with 17 wins in the last 18 games. Of course, this is only significant if one (or both) teams end up going to the NBA Finals when the best overall record gets the home court advantage.

In both conferences, the races to determine seeding will be intense. Five teams will vie for the second through sixth seeds in the East with none wanting to fall in the unenviable four-five slot as it will mean the toughest first-round series followed by an inevitable date with the Bucks in the second round.

Likewise, the race in the West for the second through seventh seeds finds six teams all jockeying to postpone a meeting with the Lakers for as long as possible.

Chase packs are vying for those bottom seeds fully aware they’ll likely be swept but simply wanting to participate and gain the experience. Although a long shot injury can alter destiny and open the door to opportunity. Albeit, that is the exception rather than the rule.

Each squad wants to build momentum through these final games. Ultimately, schedules play a key role in reaching goals and determining final seeding.

With that Thunderous Intentions dives into the schedules examining the 16 seeded teams with a view to the teams embroiled in landing home court seeds as well as the teams in the chase packs.