5 takeaways from OKC Thunder epic win in Houston

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 7: Russell Westbrook
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 7: Russell Westbrook /
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OKC Thunder
HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 07: Russell Westbrook /

Who OKC play doesn’t matter:

Scanning the top teams in the NBA offers a list of 11 squads who rank ahead of the OKC Thunder.

The following lists those squads. On the left side the teams records appear and on the right side the series record by the Thunder against each squad.

  • 64-16 – Houston Rockets:  2-1
  • 57-22 – Toronto Raptors: 2-0
  • 57-23  – Golden State Warriors: 2-2
  • 54-26 – Boston Celtics:  *0-2
  • 50-30 – Philadelphia 76ers:  2-0
  • 49-31 – Cleveland Cavaliers: 1-1
  • 48-32 – Portland Trail Blazers: *0-4
  • 48-33 – Indiana Pacers: 2-0
  • 46-33 – Utah Jazz: 3-1
  • 46-34 – New Orleans Pelicans: *1-2
  • 46-34 – San Antonio Spurs: 2-2

The running narrative has jumped all over how the Thunder have performed against the top three squads. Yet, their record versus the teams above them showcases dominance in the majority of the series.

Of these higher ranked teams only three squads won the season series: Boston, Portland and New Orleans. The Celtics game deserves an asterisk given that final :24 seconds.

More from Thunderous Intentions

And, clearly they might be some in the fanbase who worry about a sixth seed and aligning to play the Blazers.

In spite the 0-4 record though, one would assume the Thunder could figure out a way to bring the same effort they do to face three other stellar backcourts (Rockets, Raptors, Warriors).

Of the other eight squads the Thunder tied three series (Warriors, Cavaliers, Spurs) and won five outright (Rockets, Raptors, 76ers, Pacers, Jazz).

Beast slayers:

Removing the Blazers and Celtics from the equation offers a 17-9 record for a 65 win percent. Returning to those top three squads the Thunder hold a 6-3 record against them. What this tells fans is precisely what many pundits have been citing about this squad all season – the OKC Thunder are built for the postseason and are not a team most squads want to face in the first round, let alone at any stage in the process.

Sure, I could throw some water on the fire by looking at the Blazers ownership of the Thunder, but why do that when we’re still reveling in the big win Saturday.

Moving forward the magic number is one. With the Heat on tap the question is whether Miami will be invested in winning as they’ve seemingly been trying to lose to get the seventh seed.  What the Thunder need to do is something they’ve tended to avoid this season which is follow up huge wins with another huge win. In each of their victories over those top three squads they only backed up victories with a successive win once.

Let’s hope they avoid that bad habit, take care of business and secure their playoff spot with the Memphis game just being used as icing in terms of aligning them to which position they finish in.