Being 8th in the Western conference isn’t exactly the Iron Throne, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are holding on to the final spot into the playoffs, although with their recent losses, the New Orleans Pelicans might overtake them.
The Thunder have now lost four of their last five games following a 100-92 defeat against the Memphis Grizzlies. Russell Westbrook got the lethal combination of hurting his team with his one man crusade mode while not getting the usual numbers he tends to get, maybe because he found a defense that knew how to handle him.
Westbrook finished with 18 points, shooting 5-of-20 from the field and turning the ball over five times. While his statistics and list of triple doubles is obviously impressive, no one seems to be asking how many points Westbrook is costing the Thunder with his mistakes, that come from being grossly over used.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans have won four games in a row, the latest a 101-95 win over the Sacramento Kings. Anthony Davis finished with a 20-10 double double, helped by Eric Gordon with 21 points, Tyreke Evans scoring 19 and Quincy Pondexter with 18.
So with that in mind, the Pelicans make it just 0.5 games between them and the Thunder. The Thunder actually have played one more game so a win for the Pelicans against the Blazers on Saturday and the two teams are dead even heading towards a six-game finish.
The problem for the Pelicans? They have a more difficult schedule which includes Golden State, Memphis, San Antonio and Houston. For the Thunder it’s not exactly easy (Houston, Spurs and Portland) but they also have the Timberwolves, Indiana and Sacramento left to play.
It’ll probably come down to how much Russell Westbrook has left in the tank, is he willing to share and delegate responsibilities and whether or not defenses actually find a way to slow him down.