How can the OKC Thunder make the NBA Play-in tournament?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder are about to tip off against the Utah Jazz in an actual must-win game. This represents the second to last game on the schedule for the OKC Thunder and the last road contest of the year before they wrap up their home slate on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The OKC Thunder are currently clinging to the 10th seed in the NBA’s Western Conference, good enough for the final spot in the NBA Play-in Tournament. However, with the surprise win for the Dallas Mavericks over the Sacramento Kings, the race will be tight for the final two tilts. OKC owns the tiebreaker over Dallas, as they each sit with a 38-42 record. So what will the Oklahoma City Thunder have to do to hold on to earn a postseason bid?

The OKC Thunder currently possess the tenth seed in the NBA’s Western Conference. So what must the Thunder do to lock up this postseason bid?

The OKC Thunder will finish the season by playing in Utah against the Jazz, featuring a lengthy injury report, and at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. However, those Grizzlies might not have much to play for come Sunday, as there is a good chance their playoff seed will be wrapped up.

The Dallas Mavericks enjoy two home games to finish out the season, hosting the Bulls on Friday and the Spurs on Sunday. The Chicago Bulls, like the Jazz, are planning to sit their marquee players in Dallas on Friday.

So how do the Thunder clinch the 10th seed? The easiest route would be finishing the regular season with two straight wins. If OKC goes 2-0, there is no way for the Mavericks to catch up. Matching OKC does no good for Dallas, as the Thunder own the tiebreaker.

On the flip side, If the Mavericks finish 0-2, it does not matter what the Thunder record is for the final two games; OKC will be in.

If each team finishes with a 1-1 record down the stretch, the advantage goes to the Oklahoma City Thunder due to the tiebreaker that the Thunder clinched by beating Dallas two out of three times this season.

With that, drop your prediction below for how you think each team will do down the stretch of this team. Will the Thunder earn their way into the postseason?

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