It seems the race for the Western Conference's top seed will go down to the wire in a battle between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
The Thunder look to take advantage of an idle Spurs club when they invade Oakland Thursday night for a bout with the Golden State Warriors.
Oklahoma City is even with San Antonio for the top spot in the West and has won seven of the last nine games, including a 90-80 victory at Utah on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kevin Durant kept pace with Carmelo Anthony for his fourth straight scoring title, finishing an assist shy of a triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Russell Westbrook contributed 25 points and Serge Ibaka had 16 with eight rebounds and five blocks for Oklahoma City, which is 24-15 on the road and closing in on its third straight Northwest Division title. The Thunder are three games ahead of the idle Denver Nuggets with four to play and hold the tiebreaker with the Spurs.
"We had great intensity," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "We came out with the mindset of getting stops every time down the court and we did that."
The Thunder have won three in a row on the road and will wrap up their final road trip of the regular season Friday at Portland. The Thunder are only 13-11 on the road against teams from the West as opposed to an 11-4 mark against Eastern Conference foes.
In scoring title news, Durant (28.3 ppg) is right behind Anthony (28.6 ppg).
Golden State clinched its first playoff berth since 2006-07 and is coming off Tuesday's 105-89 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the continuation of a three-game homestand from Oracle Arena.
Klay Thompson poured in 30 points and Steph Curry registered a double-double with 24 points and 10 assists for the Warriors, who got 15 points and 12 rebounds from double-double machine and All-Star forward David Lee. Harrison Barnes had 15 and 10 in the win, Golden State's 10th in 14 tries.
"It means everything," said Curry on the team making the playoffs. "Just listen to this crowd. You guys are the best fans in the NBA and you deserve this as much as we do."
The Warriors are 27-12 at home and sit sixth in the West standings, one game ahead of the idle Houston Rockets.
Golden State will close out the homestand versus the Thunder, who have defeated the Warriors twice in three meetings this season. Oklahoma City is 12-4 in the past 16 matchups with the Warriors.
Oklahoma City has lost nine of 14 and 12 of its last 18 at Golden State.