I kind of feel ridiculous asking this question. It’s a little bit along the same lines of tanking for ping-pong balls.
But with the Thunder closing within a game of Dallas with four games left (OKC holds the tiebreaker though because it’s a division winner) it must be asked: Do the Thunder really want the three-seed?
Most have been saying they shouldn’t. Common sense says playing the Lakers in the Western Finals is better than playing them in the second round. But that’s going way too far. Because it should be more about the first round matchup, not what comes after.
Here’s the thing about playing the Lakers: If you want to get to the NBA Finals, you’ve got to beat them at some point. What’s it really matter if it’s in the second or third round? All it means if you can get past them in the semis is that the road gets easier to the Finals. And besides that, since when are the Spurs pushovers? They’re pretty good, remember? Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com actually sees the Spurs as OKC’s kryptonite team. So let’s not get carried away thinking that San Antonio is the easiest team ever.
If the Thunder were to jump the Mavs for third, right now it would be the Hornets who OKC would face in the opening round. Most likely, Portland will claim that spot, so let’s go under the assumption that the Thunder would be exchanging the Nuggets for the Blazers as their first round opponent. So, who’d you rather take? Keep Reading…