OKC Thunder: week 20 scoreboard watch and schedule breakdown

JANUARY 20: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets is guarded by Dennis Schroder #17 of the OKC Thunder during the fourth quarter (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
JANUARY 20: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets is guarded by Dennis Schroder #17 of the OKC Thunder during the fourth quarter (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder looks to the scoreboard (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Scoreboard watchers you arent alone – OKC Thunder players are keeping tabs of the competition too! TI breaks down the schedules and critical week 20 games.

Do you find yourself watching games and constantly checking the top of the ESPN toolbar for score updates? Rest assured you aren’t alone. It might seem like an OCD behavior (and maybe it is) but being invested in the OKC Thunder this deeply is part and parcel of that commitment.

Here’s the thing – the players are scoreboard watching too. They might say otherwise, but they’re watching and they know precisely where they lie in the standings and where all their competition ranks.

Last night, for example, the OKC Thunder was in Detroit to finish a back-to-back set. We’re talking a lottery-bound team that should typically be easy picking. But wait — this is the stretch run and nothing is easy.

Just ask the Denver Nuggets who lost (badly) to the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets to the Knicks. It’s what makes the final games of the season so much fun to watch. Firstly there is the battle for seeding and playoff berths but there are also the teams who are maneuvering to play spoiler.

Similarly, there are copious players looking to make an impression both to their current teams and potential future team. Some are on expiring contracts, or G-League players called up to varsity teams. They all want contracts next season and now more than ever they have a shot to show off their skills.

That means no game is a gimme and with so much at stake, there is no taking nights off, let alone plays as those two points that cost the team a game could also be the reason they fall down or climb up one seed in the final standings.

With the Mavericks and Jazz both in action, scoreboard watching was on the menu last night. The associated stress and pressure won’t dissipate either. For example, had the Thunder not buckled down during that fourth quarter run by the Pistons they would’ve found themselves in seventh this morning instead of sixth by virtue of the Mavericks win. That is how tightly packed the teams are

Although OKC sits sixth on the West playoff ladder that position is NOT secure. The Mavericks are still in seventh but trail OKC by a measly half game.

Likewise, the Jazz played on Wednesday facing the New York Knicks garnering a win. Utah isn’t ahead of the Thunder by much (1.5 games). The Rockets are up by two games on OKC in fourth place after losing to those same Knicks on Tuesday.

Nobody wants to play the Lakers in round one, but a close second is the Clippers. As T.I. has outlined previously the Thunder doesn’t match up well against the Clippers specifically and of the remaining options, the best shot to win round one is (while debatable) the Jazz or Rockets.

This means OKC will be just like the rest of us spending time scoreboard watching. Seeds two through seven are separated by five games. And for anyone thinking that’s too many games here’s something to consider…

The Sacramento Kings were seeded behind the Blazers, Spurs, and Pelicans in the chase pack entering the All-Star break. In the first week back with most teams playing once or twice they moved ahead of all three teams and had narrowed the gap between themselves and the Grizzlies to 2.5 games. This emphasized how the standings can undergo major shifts in a few days.

With that in mind let’s look at the stretch run schedule for the five seeds directly in competition with the Thunder as well as games to keep an eye on in week 20.