Found April 18, 2013 on
Thunder The Influence:
A few years ago, the Thunder were the laughing stock of the league. Though, it did not take long for Sam Presti to build his basketball empire in Oklahoma City, which in five short years has already taken over as the top team in the Western Conference.
Thunder fans were excited to get the third pick in the draft a few years back, now they are getting excited over the best record in the conference and a chance at another trip to the NBA Finals.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, the Thunder have a few road bumps to get past before they can raise a—respectable—banner in the Chesapeake Energy Arena rafters.
The Houston Rockets are first on the list, who let the seven-seed slip away from them after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers on the final night of the regular season.
It would have been a total trip to see the Lakers at the eight spot and the Thunder at the top in a first round match-up. However, a battle between Oklahoma City and the man who left this town for the spotlight will suffice.
James Harden, man. He certainly got what he wanted. He is the leader of a "playoff" team that could have faced a beaten-down San Antonio Spurs team. However, in overtime, the Lakers prevailed. And now the Rockets will have to somehow outmatch the Thunder, who were able to surpass the struggling San Antonio Spurs.
The Rockets have some fire-power on offense, which is directed by Jeremy Lin. Though, countering Oklahoma City's intensity on offense will be a tall order for the Rockets.
Houston, we're happy to host you in Loud City. The fans should be ready for what should be an easy series against Houston. However, maybe James Harden "will show us." Then again, the Thunder are not about to get knocked out in the first round and let a re-match with the Miami Heat slip through their fingers.
It's playoff time in Oklahoma. Sunday, pack the 'Peake and witness the beginning of OKC's path to the NBA Finals.
BEST OF MAXIM
Kevin Durant has conceded the NBA scoring title. Carmelo Anthony has won it.
Durant would need to score 70 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder's final game of the season to pass the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (who is likely sitting out his final game), and Durant on Wednesday alerted the world he wasn't planning on going for it.
"SITTING OUT TONIGHT'S GAME,...
(Eds: APNewsNow.) By CHRIS DUNCAN AP Sports Writer Jeremy Lin looked around on the first day of the Houston Rockets' training camp with more hope than expectation. James Harden arrived three weeks later and everything changed.
The Rockets are back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Houston will face Oklahoma City, Harden's former team, in the first...
(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By JEFF LATZKE AP Sports Writer The Oklahoma City Thunder have faced questions all season on whether they'd be able to succeed after trading James Harden away during training camp.
Harden blossomed in Houston, becoming an All-Star and the NBA's fifth-leading scorer in his first opportunity to be a franchise's featured...
OKLAHOMA CITY You had to know this was going to happen.
You just knew James Harden was going to come back at some point, and at some point it was going to really matter.
And now the Thunder are in a no-win situation, while Harden is poised for the ultimate "I told you so" moment.
Five days before the season started, the Thunder traded the popular Harden to Houston,...
With the best record in the Western Conference all wrapped up, the Oklahoma City Thunder do not have anything to play for with the Milwaukee Bucks coming to town tonight. The same cannot be said for Kevin Durant, who had a (very slim) shot at winning his fourth consecutive scoring title.
Rather than risk injury and try to score as much as possible, Durant will be sitting out...
Gee Jack Nicholson, your hair smells terrific.
LAL 99, Houston Rockets 95
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