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A clunker finish but a glorious season for Thunder

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm •  Published: April 13, 2011

Clunker finish to a glorious season.

Before we get to the clunker of a 110-106 overtime loss to the faceless Milwaukee Bucks, let's deal with the glory first.

Fifty-five wins. The Thunder won 55 games.

Wow.

Forget, for a moment, the upcoming Denver Nuggets and maybe the San Antonio Spurs after that.

Before we jump on the NBA playoffs' carnival ride of emotions, before we learn more about Danilo Gallinari and Nene Hilario than we ever wanted to know, let's take a breath and appreciate what we've just witnessed.

These Thunder Romper Roomers, a bunch of 21- and 22-year-olds with some tough chaperones riding shotgun, won 55 games playing in the Western Conference, which unlike the East still has a majority of quality squads.

A franchise that won a combined 43 games its final year in Seattle and first year in OKC, won 55 in a season in which the Thunder sneaked up on nobody and underwent an extreme midseason makeover.

“Those times were tough,” Kevin Durant said of his first two NBA seasons. “But it feels good to be a winning basketball team.

“We are blessed to be in this position and to be able to compete for the championship. We can't take it for granted. This season has been fun. It feels real good.

“The guys in this locker room are upset about tonight's game, which is good, because we all want to win. But we can't overlook the season we had.”

Here's who won more games than the Thunder this season: Chicago 62, San Antonio 61 (pending a late game), Miami 58, Dallas 57, the Lakers 56 (pending a late game) and Boston 56. The Thunder joined the high-rent district.

The Thunder season will be defined by the playoffs, as it should be. That's the way the NBA works. But don't be afraid to celebrate what these 5 1/2 months have brought us.

“It's been a great year,” said Nick Collison, another veteran of the awful times. “We've done a real good job of avoiding any bad stretches.”

No kidding. The Thunder's longest losing streak was three, and two of those losses came right after the Kendrick Perkins trade that remade the franchise. Only the Bulls and Celtics avoided a losing streak as long as three.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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