3 teams that could give the Thunder trouble in first round of playoffs

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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The Oklahoma City Thunder have been trading the Western Conference crown back and forth with the Timberwolves for the last couple of weeks. Denver has climbed, while the Clippers have stumbled.

With a little over a month remaining in the season, it feels safe to say that the Thunder will wind up finishing among the top three seeds in the west.

Typically, when you’re near the top of your conference, it means you get an easier first-round playoff matchup. Not an easy matchup, mind you, for, after all, this is still the playoffs but teams get a dime-a-dozen scrappy opponents. One who could win a game or two, but ultimately just ends up a footnote on the way to a longer playoff run. 

This year, that might not be the case.

There seem to be some heavy-hitting teams lurking around the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race, some of which have already given the Thunder trouble during the regular season.

Could Thunder stumble in the first round against a more physical team?

Oklahoma City has a unique roster construction and style of play. They emphasize skill first and foremost, scaling back on size so that every player can shoot, pass, and handle. This strategy has obviously worked for them so far considering their placement out in the west while sporting the youngest roster weighted by playing time. 

However, the problem is that this strategy has weaknesses. If OKC is going to have a conference finals appearance ahead of them, they may need some seeding luck at the end of the season. 

With this in mind, as we gear up for the playoffs, there are a few of teams, in particular, that could threaten the Thunder in a first-round matchup.