Thunder didn’t even play a game on Thursday… and jumped from No. 8 to No. 5 in West playoff race
In the topsy-turvy world of NBA basketball, sometimes not working actually pays off. Because the Oklahoma City Thunder did not play tonight and the three teams that had been ahead of them in the Western Conference standings did, OKC was able to leap up from 8th in the West to 5th – all because they didn’t play a game tonight.
With that Jazz loss, the Thunder immediately jump from 8th to 5th.
5. OKC 7-5
6. Spurs 5-5
7. Jazz 4-5
8. Clippers 4-6
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 22, 2019
How is this possible, you may ask? It all comes down to the NBA deciding that NBA divisions – something that most hardcore and casual NBA fans don’t give a fig about – actually matter when it comes to playoff seeding.
Though the NBA has been proactive on changing some ridiculous recent rules surrounding playoff seeding – notably when the third-seeded Clippers had to face off against the sixth-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the 2015 Playoffs because L.A. won its division and San Antonio did not – the fact that division tiebreakers still matter seems a bit antiquated.
Of course, it didn’t help the other teams that the Jazz dropped an eminently winnable game against the Atlanta Hawks on the road, nor did it help that the Spurs lost to the Heat in Dwyane Wade’s final matchup against Gregg Popovich.
Either way, it’s pretty wild that a Thunder team that has been swooning of late after losing four straight is actually able to help their record more when they don’t play a game.