NBA Power Rankings week 14: OKC Thunder among the ‘road warriors’

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OKC Thunder

JANUARY 13: Dennis Schroder #17 of the OKC Thunder and Chris Paul #3 talk during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)


Oklahoma City Thunder 28-19

Last rank: 11

OKC Thunder:

Offense: (110.2) 14th
Defense: (107.8) tied12th
Net: (plus +2.5) 13th

Results Week 14: (4-0): Won vs. Rockets 112-107, Magic: 120-114, Hawks: 140-111, Wolves: 113-104
Games Week 15: (3 games) Mon vs. Mavericks | Weds at Kings | Fri at Suns

No doubt some will think this placement is too high. However, the OKC Thunder was one of only two teams (Raptors) who recorded a 4-0 week and one of four teams (Bucks, Jazz) to post an unbeaten record in week 14.

More importantly, they did it while navigating a particularly tough week which required end of bench players to step up. The ease with which the Thunder took down the Wolves with only a hobbled Steven Adams and Mike Muscalsa to provide center minutes against Karl-Anthony Towns added to the awe of the fan base.

As the team continues to display clutch time prowess they’ve also turned a corner in terms of dispensing of clubs who aren’t in the upper tier.

Only the Lakers and Jazz have won as many games through the recent weeks in the West and although some pundits won’t move them this high up the ladder it should be noted a win against the Mavericks on Monday evening will move them closer to the fifth or sixth seed than where they currently reside in seventh.

Each of Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder have won games for the club and the manner in which they operate on the hardwood highlights precisely how much playmaking can make a difference especially in the clutch moments. That fact got driven home in week 15 as Adams, Noel, and Gallinari all missed games but the Thunder won in spite of it.

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