Mar 24, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) congratulates Thunder guard Russell Westbrook after a play against the Portland Trailblazers during the second half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Why the OKC Thunder are as likely to win the NBA title as the Miami Heat

When you talk about the best team in the NBA, one of the first things you usually bring up is who has the best record.

Right now, it’s the Miami Heat, who have also won their last 27 games.

ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh says what the Oklahoma City Thunder are doing this season is just as impressive, if not more so.

The Thunder lead the league in point differential outscoring their opponents on average by 9.2 points per game. If the Thunder keep this pace up, it will be the seventh best mark in NBA history.

Every team that has had a better scoring margin has gone on to win the NBA title (’96, ’97, ’92 Bulls; ’08, ’86 Celtics; ’87 Lakers).

Scoring margin really tells the tale of which team is the most dominant. That has been the Thunder this season.

The problem is that the Thunder have not been as dominant against the better teams in the league. They have looked like a different team less capable when facing the Spurs, Grizzlies or Heat.

That has been the most concerning thing about the Thunder this season.

The other troubling factor has been the Thunder’s inconsistent lineups. We don’t always know who will be closing out games whether it will be Kevin Martin or Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins or Nick Collison.

That lack of consistency makes the Thunder still look like a team that is too young and not ready to win it all. Especially when you stack them up next to the Miami Heat.

What this stat tells us though is that the Thunder are probably in better shape to win it all this year than it has felt lately.

They still have to be considered the favorite to come out of the Western Conference. The Spurs seem like they might be able to give them a harder time than last season but OKC still should be able to get past them.

That matchup with the Heat feels like the toughest thing for the Thunder to overcome especially with how they played against them in their two meetings this season.

Sometimes it’s good to not win in the regular season against a team that you will face in the playoffs.

The Heat have beaten the Thunder six times in a row. That means they will have to beat them 10 our of 13 times to win the title again this year if they play again. That’s hard to do against a team like the Thunder.

It’ll be a different story too if the Heat have homecourt advantage in the Finals this year. The pressure won’t be as great on the Thunder those first two games on the road vs. Miami. Then it will be OKC that gets three straight on their court, where the momentum of a series can really change.

Keep your heads up Thunder fans. This could still be the Thunder’s year to win it all.

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Tags: Miami Heat Oklahoma City Thunder

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