5. Oklahoma City rolling
While it’s certainly taken a while — much longer than originally anticipated — Oklahoma City may have finally figured it out. The Thunder are over .500 for the first time since Halloween, nearly two months later. As a result of their most recent drubbing of the Jazz, the Thunder now sit sixth in the West at 16-15.
Despite having a so-called ‘big three’, Oklahoma City has struggled to win games out the gate this season. Carmelo Anthony hit a bump in the road, Paul George had his fair share of good nights and bad nights and Russell Westbrook couldn’t hit the side of a barn door. However, all in due time, the Thunder finally looked to have figured it out. Oklahoma City cruised to a 28-point win over Utah to bring them above .500. While the return of Steven Adams is significant, he wouldn’t have made much of a difference against the Jazz. Westbrook and the gang were feeling it and it showed. Poor Utah.
Throughout the duration of the season, the Thunder have shown glimpses of being one of the NBA’s best teams. From time to time they have breakout performances, but fall flat on their faces the next night. The feeling around the league is that sooner or later they’d figure it all out. Well, it’s sooner. In the middle of Oklahoma City’s journey is the fact the Thunder are 7-3 in their last 10. Although not every win is convincing, they’re getting the job done. The Thunder have continued to climb the Western Conference ladder week-by-week, now sitting in the middle of playoff contention — safe and sound. Even though they’ve got a way to go to reach the top (which likely won’t happen), every team has to start somewhere.