The Western Conference’s playoff picture changed with the San Antonio Spurs’ win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With a mere few games to go in the 2017-18 NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs still must fight for their playoff lives. It’s part of the fluctuating Western Conference picture, which featured the Portland Trail Blazers go on a double-digit game winning streak, the Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves fall down the standings, and the Los Angeles Clippers play relevant basketball without Blake Griffin.
Entering Thursday’s national matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Spurs were on a two-game losing stream and faced another must-win situation. This came to fruition after the Thunder struggled in the fourth quarter, along with a strong performance from the possibly-still-hurt LaMarcus Aldridge. San Antonio won 103-99.
With the win, the West’s standings changed, again, as they do with every night this late in the season. How do the top eight teams, and the Spurs, stand on March 30?
- Houston Rockets: 61-14
- Golden State Warriors: 54-21, 7 GB
- Portland Trail Blazers: 46-29, 15 GB
- San Antonio Spurs: 44-32, 17.5 GB
- Oklahoma City Thunder: 44-32, 17.5 GB
- New Orleans Pelicans: 43-32, 18 GB
- Minnesota Timberwolves: 43-33 GB
- Utah Jazz: 42-33, 19 GB
- Los Angeles Clippers: 41-34, 20 GB
- Denver Nuggets: 40-35, 21 GB
Remarkably, it’s just a 2.5 game cushion between fourth and ninth place. With six games to go, it leaves the door open for the Silver and Black to fall out of the playoff race, with the Blazers, Clippers, Pelicans and Rockets all left on their schedule. The Clipper and Pelican games both take place on the road, where San Antonio struggled throughout this season.
If the season ended today, the Spurs would go head-to-head with the Thunder — a series that has the potential to go six or seven games, given how close their four matchups were this season. It can just as easily be the No. 8 Jazz that move to 5, however, or vice verse, and given the Spurs a different look in the playoffs. So nothing will be certain for at least another week.