With just five more games left in the regular season, there’s still much to be decided.
From postseason positioning to ego battles, there’s still plenty to watch. In a crowded Western Conference, the playoff seeding is definitely going to come down to the final game before the playoff brackets are set — this game is bound to be fun.
Not that either of these two teams need any added incentive to get up for this game against each other.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 3 at 5:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
LISTEN: 95.7 The Game
(Note the early game, and that it’s on TNT)
Golden State trying to find their rhythm amid all the injury chaos
With the return of Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, the Warriors are finally back to a reasonable semblance of the dominant team that has won so many games over the past few years. In fact, as Monte Poole recently wrote, the Warriors are chasing yet another bit of history: tying the Lakers as the only franchise to win 60+ games in four consecutive seasons. In order to achieve this, the team can only lose one of their five remaining games.
There’s a well-documented tension between these two teams that underlies everything - and with playoff implications at stake this game is unlikely to be any different. After dropping the first two matchups to the Thunder this season, the Warriors came back and smacked OKC down in the last meeting in a 112-80 drubbing in Oracle back in February. In that game, Paul George shot 1-for-14 from the field, Russell Westbrook went 4-for-15. and Carmelo Anthony fared the best at 6-for-17 (or 35%).
And speaking of that injury chaos, the hits just keep on coming — looks like Kevon Looney will miss this one, and Andre Iguodala is still out with that knee (probably):
Injury report for tomorrow night's game at Oklahoma City: pic.twitter.com/tPb9i6NZly— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) April 2, 2018
The Thunder are stuck in that Western playoff bracket mess
Losing key defensive player Andre Roberson has taken the Thunder down a peg, but they can still handle the Warriors (especially the current depleted version). Led by a guy more volatile than Bitcoin, the Thunder are the sort of long-armed, bash you in the mouth team that can give the Warriors trouble.
The Thunder are a solid team on both offense and defense that is exceptionally adept on the offensive glass and forcing turnovers on defense — two categories in which they lead the league.
They’ve managed two victories over the Warriors already this season and although we blew them out last game, it took exceedingly bad shooting nights from both Paul George and Russel Westbrook — chances are neither of them will shoot quite as poorly tonight.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t be a blog boy if I didn’t point out that the Thunder are stuck in the playoff bracket mess for a reason. They’re 2-4 over their last six games, with an average point differential of just 0.3. They’ve got middling efficiency in both offensive and defensive shooting percentage - meaning that if the Warriors play their cards right, it shouldn’t be too hard to tempt Westbrook into shooting the Thunder out of the game.