Oklahoma City Thunder Playoff Seeding Watch: April 11th, 2011

This is just a quick update as to where the Thunder are in terms of seeding, what they need to do to move up, and who they'll potentially be facing. As of right now, the Western Conference can be divided into two races: The Race for the Two Seed and the Race for the Six Seed.

Previous Edition: April 9th

The Race For Two:

Two Seed: Los Angeles Lakers

How far ahead? One game. Tied with the Mavericks. (Lakers Hold Tiebreaker as Division Winners)

Who Owns the Tie Breaker with the Thunder? The Lakers (Lakers Lead Season Series 2-0).

Who Have They Yet to Face? Vs. San Antonio, At Sacramento

Analysis: The Lakers still have to lose out in order to give up their seed to the Thunder. It's kind of like hoping for rain in the desert, but hey, the Magic School Bus told me that happens sometimes.

Three Seed: Dallas Mavericks

How far ahead? One game. Tied with the Lakers. (Lakers Hold Tiebreaker as Division Winners)

Who Owns the Tie Breaker with the Thunder? The Thunder (Division Winners).

Who have they yet to face? At Houston, Vs. New Orleans

Analysis: They blew out the defeated Phoenix Suns for an easy win yesterday, but that was probably the easiest game out of their final three. They still have an upcoming matchup with the Hornets (who are fighting for playoff position themselves), and the Rockets, who are still playing hard and would like nothing more than to spoil the Mavs party. They stand a good chance of losing one of their final games, but the Mavericks are a good team, so whether it will happen is anyone's guess.

Four Seed: Oklahoma City Thunder

Who have they yet to face? At Sacramento, Vs Milwaukee.

Analysis: The Thunder probably have the easiest final two games of all, so the situation is largely out of their hands. As long as they do their job against the Kings and Bucks, all that's left for them to do is watch other games and hope other teams lose. It's lame, I know, but the Thunder have had a remarkable run to put themselves in this position.

Below: The Race for the Sixth Seed, Who the Thunder are Likely to Face!

Five Seed: Denver Nuggets

How far ahead? 2.0 games ahead the Trail Blazers.

Can they move up? No.

Can they move down? Yes, to 6th.

Who have they yet to face? Vs. Golden State, At Utah

Analysis: The Nuggets must lose out in order to give up their seed. It can still happen, but right now, they're pretty securely seated in the fifth seed, given how horrible the Jazz are.

Race for the Six Seed

Six Seed: Portland Trail Blazers

How Far Behind? 2 Games back of the Nuggets.

How Far Ahead? 1 Game ahead of the Hornets and Grizzlies.

Can they move up? Yes, to 5th.

Can they move down? Yes, to 8th.

Who have they yet to face? Vs. Memphis, At Golden State.

Analysis: The Trail Blazers have stood pat since Sunday's report, but the game on Tuesday against the Grizzlies has become even more critical, as the Grizzlies defeated the Hornets on Sunday night. If the Grizzlies win, they move ahead of the Trail Blazers. Additionally, the Hornets would move ahead of the Trail Blazers as well with a win against the hapless Jazz. In short, the Trail Blazers must win tomorrow to keep their spot in sixth place.

Seven Seed: New Orleans Hornets

How Far Behind? 3 Games back of the Nuggets.

How Far Ahead? Tied with the Grizzlies. (Hornets hold Tiebreaker with better Division Record)

Can they move up? Yes, to 6th.

Can they move down? Yes, to 8th.

Who have they yet to face? Vs. Utah, at Dallas

Analysis: The Hornets hurt their seeding situation with a loss to the Grizzlies, and everything is out of their hands at this point. As long as they keep winning, they're guaranteed the seventh seed, but if the Grizzlies beat the Trailblazers, they will bizarrely move into sixth place, though a bunch of complicated tiebreakers. They did have a big matchup against the Mavericks though, who will also be fighting for their playoff lives. A loss there could see them fall back into 8th place.

Eight Seed: Memphis Grizzlies

How Far Behind? 3 Games back of the Nuggets.

How Far Ahead? Tied with the Hornets. (Hornets hold Tiebreaker with better Division Record)

Can they move up? Yes, to 6th.

Can they move down? No.

Who have they yet to face? At Portland, At Los Angeles Clippers

Analysis: It was more bad news for the Thunder as the Grizzlies beat the Hornets last night, putting themselves in position to get the sixth seed. To put it bluntly, if they run the table and the Hornets lose to the Mavericks, the Grizzlies will find themselves in the sixth seed. But, the Mavericks would have to lose to Houston in order for the Thunder to get the third seed in that same situation, so a matchup between the two teams is unlikely, but still possible. On the other hand, if the Grizzlies happen to lose at Portland, they'll find themselves firmly locked into the eighth seed. 

What do you think about the seeding situation? Vote in the poll, post a comment!

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