Originally posted on Thunder The Influence  |  Last updated 4/18/13
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Golden Knights owner screws up expansion draft order, announces a selection from the wrong team

Steve Kerr: Warriors will ‘get greedy,’ be even better next season

Report: Pacers in no rush to complete Paul George trade

Phil Jackson and Knicks are looking to trade Porzingis

Oscar De La Hoya: Dana White ‘disrespectful’ for timing of Mayweather-McGregor

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Unlike with the NFL Draft, ESPN will allow reporters to tweet NBA Draft picks before they’re announced

Freddie Freeman planning to play third base upon return from disabled list

Chauncey Billups reportedly gets second interview for Cavs’ GM job

Coach K advocates NBA allowing high school players into draft

Report: ‘Zero truth’ to idea Cavs players told Butler to stay away

Photo depicting Kawhi Leonard sans braids apparently a fake

The 'Golden Knights will begin with a Fleury of activity' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Ricky Davis Award for most irrationally confident shooter

2017 NBA Mock Draft

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

Which vets the Vegas Golden Knights should build around

Box Score 6/21: Summer of NBA trades heats up

For Giants, failure to act could be the gravest error in a season full of them

Scouting the 2017 NBA Draft

The 'Diana Taurasi, greatest of all-time' quiz

Ranking the No. 2 overall NBA Draft picks in the lottery era

Box Score 6/20: NBA annual drama season off to fiery start

The 'Process is shown to be trustworthy once again' quiz

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Golden Knights will begin with a Fleury of activity' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Ricky Davis Award for most irrationally confident shooter

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

Which vets the Vegas Golden Knights should build around

The Giants' failures for 2017 are complete, time to think of the future

Scouting the 2017 NBA Draft

The 'Diana Taurasi, greatest of all-time' quiz

Ranking the No. 2 overall NBA Draft picks in the lottery era

The 'Process is shown to be trustworthy once again' quiz

Diana Taurasi setting the WNBA all-time scoring record is another leap for the league

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker