The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers tonight to win their 57th game of the season. But, they will almost surely finish with the second best record in the western conference. Last year the Thunder earned the top seed in the west, although even home court advantage did not stop the Thunder from bowing out of the playoffs in the second round.
But those memories of last season are a year old and this season Kevin Durant is playing like a man possessed. The San Antonio Spurs will finish this season with the west’s top seed, but that won’t deter Durant and company from their goal: winning the NBA title.
The Thunder sit 3 games back from the Spurs in the standings. With only 5 games left for the Thunder to play this season, that 3 game gap will be nearly impossible to bridge. Especially with the Spurs playing better than any team in the entire league.
The Spurs seem to end every season in this fashion. They rest players, claim not to care about their regular season record, that players being healthy for the playoffs is the goal. And somehow they end up playing their best basketball down the stretch and will their way to the west’s top seed. If only it were that easy for the Thunder.
But the Thunder are playing their best basketball of the season down the stretch as well. Now that Durant’s scoring streak ended – at just the right time, with 5 games left – the focus is solely on the playoffs.
Rolling into the playoffs, the Thunder are at full strength with all their key players healthy. They will need their health and young legs to beat the experienced, but aging Spurs. The Spurs will prove to be the toughest test for the Thunder come the post season and Durant can’t wait to redeem himself after losing in 5 games to the Memphis Grizzlies during last year’s playoff run.
Durant needs to showcase his full array of talents this post season in order win and he is at the peak of his career athletically. This year will be his first time winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, so he obviously is outplaying everyone else in the NBA this season. He just has to carry his awesome play into the post season.
This season’s playoff run will be difficult with the Thunder possibly matching up against a veteran Dallas Mavericks squad or possibly a young, hungry Golden State Warriors team.
Either way, Durant and the Thunder know how to win and if they are fully healthy they posses the talent and the players to make it to the finals.