Thunder vs. Pacers preview: No. 2 playoff seed at issue for both teams

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers have both done enough already to land in the top tier of the playoff brackets for their respective conference, but they are each looking to make one last push. On Friday one of them will suffer a setback.

The Indiana Pacers (48-27) and Oklahoma City Thunder (55-20) have very different thoughts on the No. 2 seed for the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the moment. The Pacers are fighting hard to take back the No. 2 seed from the streaking New York Knicks in the East and sit just a half-game behind New York heading into the matchup with OKC on Friday.

The Thunder have positioned themselves to escape the No. 2 seed in the West. They dispatched the Spurs on Thursday and moved within a half-game of San Antonio for the top spot, and because they have a better conference record they can jump into the No. 1 slot with a win -- by virtue of the secondary playoff tiebreaker.

The game will feature a fascinating matchup between Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the second-best offense in the NBA, and Roy Hibbert, Paul George and the top defensive unit in the association. In the first head-to-head meeting on Dec. 9, OKC emerged with a 104-93 win thanks to 48.7 percent shooting, 27 points from Durant and 21 more from Westbrook. A late 8-0 run from the Thunder stunted a comeback attempt by Indiana in that game.

You will need to fire up NBA League Pass to see this game. When the two teams tip off at 8 p.m. ET, the Heat and Bobcats will be playing on ESPN. The Pacers are just a 2.5-point favorite at home and the over/under is 191.5 points, according to Odds Shark.

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