NBA: Oklahoma City Starting to Posterize

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been playing most of this NBA season with one hand tied behind their back. While they are an extremely talented team with plenty of playoff experience, they’ve also been hampered with injuries throughout the first half of the year.

With stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook sidelined for a considerable amount of games, the Thunder did all they could to stay above water. But, with such a competitive Western Conference, the idea that OKC may not be able to make up the games, and thus find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture, was not out of the realm of possibility.

Well, it looks like the Thunder players might have something to say about that. And with the way they’ve been playing lately, the thought of missing the playoffs doesn’t appear to be an option. That should spell trouble for anyone in their way.

All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and ESPN.go.com

The Thunder entered last night’s contest with the Washington Wizards riding a three-game winning streak, and they were looking to keep it going. Well, not only did they win the ball game, 105-103 in overtime, making it four straight Ws for the road team, but they appeared to send a message to the rest of the league: We’re coming for you.

The above throw-down by Kevin Durant over Wizards center Marcin Gortat, represented the perfect microcosm for the way the Thunder are playing right now. They don’t appear to be concerned with whoever’s in their way. OKC will play their game, and take it to whoever stands between them and the basket. And expect that opponent to end up on a poster.

They may currently be sitting in the ninth spot in the Western Conference, but don’t expect it to stay that way. The Thunder are movin’ on up.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Right now, The Phoenix Suns are all that stand in the way of OKC and a spot in the playoffs. The Suns are a solid team who are 8-2 in their last 10 games, but the Thunder are only three games out of eighth place. Not to mention, Oklahoma City averaged 107.9 points-per-game in the month of December and so far in January, they’re putting up 104 a contest. With their season average only at 100.2 points-per-game, it appears the Thunder are starting to find their rhythm. The Suns better keep on winning, because the Thunder don’t seem to plan on stopping any time soon.

The All-Star break is two weeks away, and the Thunder find themselves with a record of 22-10. Considering all the obstacles they’ve already endured so far this season, you can bet they’ll take it. However, don’t for one moment think they’re going to be satisfied sitting on the outside, looking in. This team was built to contend for NBA championships. A little adversity never hurt anyone, and it’s certainly not going to derail the Thunder. Not if they keep doing what they’re doing. The rest of the league better hope and pray that Oklahoma City doesn’t make it into the postseason. But, if they are smart, they won’t hold their breath.

The Thunder are coming on strong, and you better get out of the way. Unless, of course, you’re looking to end up on a poster.