Just lose, child.

That is likely to be the rallying cry as of late in locations like Oklahoma City and Portland, the place the season’s closing days have morphed right into a quest for abject failure. Revising the lottery system and including the Play-In might have helped treatment the worst excesses of #tankingszn, however it’s nonetheless a factor. Oklahoma City can’t afford to win even yet another recreation, and continues to be praying these spunky Pistons catch them within the win column within the season’s ultimate weekend. The backside three groups get one of the best lottery odds; proper now the Thunder are fourth, and only one recreation from catching the equally tanktacular Pacers and diminishing their odds additional. Portland, in the meantime has gone 2-19 in its final 21 video games after shutting down actually each participant they’ve who’s even remotely good.

The comedic pinnacle got here in Tuesday’s Portland-Oklahoma City recreation, a 98-94 “win” for the Thunder that got here regardless of Oklahoma City solely making one substitution within the second half and enjoying two gamers they signed that morning almost your entire recreation. Not to be outdone, Portland used 5 totally different gamers with single-digit PERs and, trailing by 4 with 40 seconds left, opted to neither foul nor use any of its two remaining timeouts.

Thankfully, video games like this have turn out to be much less widespread on account of revisions which have disincentivized blatant tankery, however the incentive hasn’t gone away solely. And in fact, even amongst groups that ostensibly try a bit tougher, there’s the inevitable lack of mojo that comes when you already know the season is over and your most significant upcoming street journey is to Cancun.

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