In the West, most of the national media’s playoff talk revolves around the Lakers and the 8th spot. Tony Parker’s injury notwithstanding, the three game-lead San Antonio owns on Oklahoma City (they meet on Monday night in San Antonio) continues to garner little attention as the press eats up Kobe’s announcement that the added competition of trying to make the playoffs as the 8th seed, rather than jockeying for position as was expected is going to make the next month “fun.”
Here’s what might not be fun for NBA fans in Oklahoma City and San Antonio: instead of playing Houston or Utah in round one, their teams might have to deal with a suddenly healthy Lakers team -- Gasol just began running drills on his plantar-fascitis-ridden foot -- that has the added momentum of sneaking into the playoffs in the last week or two of the season, while San Antonio rests Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. Of course, the NBA’s front office is drooling at the added intrigue, the ratings boost a Thunder-Lakers first round match-up would provide.
The seeds currently look like this:
Close to Guaranteed Division Winners
1. San Antonio
2. Oklahoma City (3)
3. LA Clippers (4,5)
Parker’s injury reveals the endless depth that Popovich and Buford put together. Nando de Colo gets more on the job training and Kawhi Leonard gets to play point-forward from time to time. Durant’s monster season continues. The question: did the Clippers peak too early? The spark of depth that worked so well early (Odom, Barnes, Bledsoe) may be tiring as the season wears on. Still, they have as good a chance as any team with Chris Paul’s leadership. Will the lack of three-point shooting be the Clips undoing this spring?
To read the complete post, click here: