Thunder clinch No. 1 seed for Western Conference playoffs


OKLAHOMA CITY — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points in one half of action, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled past the Dallas Mavericks 135-86 on Sunday to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Oklahoma City finished with the same 57-25 record as the Denver Nuggets but own the tiebreaker. The Thunder hadn’t finished as the top seed since the 2012-13 season.

The Thunder entered the day in a three-way tie with the Nuggets and Timberwolves for the best record in the Western Conference, the first time in NBA history that’s happened. Denver’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota’s loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday clinched the No. 2 and 3 seeds for the Nuggets and Timberwolves, respectively.

The Thunder will have to wait for the play-in tournament’s conclusion to learn their first-round opponent. The Nuggets will face the winner of the 7-8 play-in game between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans. Minnesota is locked into a matchup with the No. 6 seed Suns.

NBA scoring leader Luka Doncic and star guard Kyrie Irving were among the four starters the Mavericks rested vs. the Thunder. Doncic had a sore left ankle and Irving had a sore left hamstring. The Mavericks already had clinched the No. 5 seed and a first-round matchup with the LA Clippers.

The other play-in matchup will be between the No. 10 seed Golden State Warriors and No. 9 seed Sacramento Kings. The winner of that game will play the loser of the 7-8 matchup for the right to face the Thunder in the first round.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source : ESPN