OKC Thunder once again stumble on the path to .500, but the sky is not falling

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder stumbled to get to .500 after they had yet another shot at reaching that plateau on Thursday in Toronto. Still, the sky is not falling for the OKC Thunder, despite the panic across social media. The results across the NBA immensely helped the Thunder on Friday night.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dominated in his homecoming, playing his first game in Toronto as an NBA All-Star, but the Thunder still fell 128-111, falling short of reaching a .500 record for the first time this year.

Despite the OKC Thunder loss, the sky is not falling, and the rest of the NBA landscape is part of the reason why.

The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Raptors despite Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropping 29 points, three assists, three rebounds, and two steals on 63 percent shooting from the floor, navigating through the length and size that the Raptors possess.

Toronto did a fantastic job of handling each run the Thunder went on. A five-point game at halftime was supposed to be good news for OKC, heading into what has been their best quarter all season long, but despite getting the game down to four points, the margin continued to expand for the Raptors, who eventually ran away with this game down the stretch.

After that loss, despite the dancing in the streets of Bricktown following Tuesday’s win, the panic set in across the Thunder fanbase, once again dividing them between whether OKC could make a play in push or should they prioritize their NBA Draft Lottery odds.

That has been the case all season long; fans have viewed this more like a football season than a basketball campaign. They are living and Dying with every game, switching positions with each 48-minute segment of basketball.

Despite the Thursday trepidation, Friday’s results across the NBA could not have gone better for the Thunder. The Lakers, Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Trailblazers all lost. That gave OKC sole possession of 9th place in the NBA Western Conference Standings.

While the OKC Thunder embark on a tough stretch of games, starting with a Sunday Matena against the Suns in the Paycom Center and including two games against the Clippers, which leads to the Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back and the Trailblazers to cap off a west coast road trip, the Thunder is still well within the mix for a playoff spot.

Portland has teased shutting down superstar Damian Lillard if the next five games do not go well for the franchise, and immediately after that report came out, the team lost at home to the Boston Celtics.

After that tough stretch from the Thunder, they get a slight reprieve by taking on the lowly Hornets and Pistons in a back-to-back, followed by a matchup with the Pacers and the Utah Jazz. A two-game set against the Suns and Warriors breaks up that stretch. Finally, the season ends at home against the Memphis Grizzlies, who could have a defined playoff seed by that point.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are well within the mix for postseason play. If you strip away the teams’ names and players and just blindly look at each squad’s resume, you would likely consider the Thunder a near lock to make the postseason play based on the teams around them and their subsequent pitfalls.

No matter how this season ends, the outcome somehow benefits Oklahoma City. So sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Next. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander earns praise from an NBA legend. dark