This week could be a defining one for the Oklahoma City Thunder. After their 105-97 win against Portland, the Thunder traded places with the Trail Blazers for sole possession of second place in the Western conference. The team that is still ahead of them is the San Antonio Spurs. Luckily for them, they’ll get a shot at those Spurs on Wednesday.
After Tuesdays game against Portland, the Thunder moved to 32-10. That is just half a game behind San Antonio, who leads the conference at 32-9. A win on Wednesday would tie the two teams at the top of the West.
The Thunder and the Spurs are the classic matchup between new school flash and old school fundamentals. The winner on Wednesday will demonstrate that they are ready to continue out a push for the top spot in the west, which will mean home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
So far this year the Thunder have been paced by their All-Star Kevin Durant, as he leads the league at 30.6 points per game. It shouldn’t be understated that Durant has been on a tear in the month of January. On January 7 he had 48 against Minnesota and another 48-point performance in a losing effort against Utah a week later. He then had a career high 54 against Golden State on January 17th, and finished with 46 in the win against Portland on Tuesday. The game was his eighth in a row with over 30-points. If Durant can keep up this pace, he is almost a lock for the MVP Award.
The Thunder also get huge production in the way of 7 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game from their point guard, Russell Westbrook. However, Westbrook will be out during their game against San Antonio with a knee injury. Serge Ibaka is also a top-5 shot blocker, averaging 2.4 blocks per game.
The matchup on Wednesday should be a great one between San Antonio and Oklahoma City. This game has an even line as things stand now, but there is plenty on the line for the winner. The two teams will play one more time later this season, so this game is highly important in terms of the head-to-head record as well.
After their game against San Antonio, the Thunder will head out on an east coast swing, which will include games in Boston, Brooklyn, Washington, Atlanta and a much-anticipated game against the Heat.