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.
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.
OK, now on to the clunker. The Thunder starters played less than half the game. The Thunder didn't get to 55 wins with Kevin Durant playing 23 minutes and Russell Westbrook 21.
Nothing mysterious about it. When you don't try to win, you often don't.
But I understand it. At least Scott Brooks played his main men part of the way. This beats San Antonio sitting out Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all 48 minutes of a marquee game against the Lakers.
And the Thunder had the game in hand anyway, up nine points with 90 seconds left in the game. But its combination of second- and third-teamers failed to close the deal.
The lineup of Nazr Mohammed, Daequan Cook, Byron Mullens, Royal Ivey and Nate Robinson played the final 3:12 of regulation and all five minutes of overtime.
At least some good came of the deal. This will stop any clamoring for Robinson to join the rotation. After taking over at point guard midway through the fourth quarter, Mister Robinson made two of 11 shots and more bad decisions than Eric Maynor makes in a month.
And frankly, the end result was just fine. Even though Dallas was well ahead of New Orleans when this game went to overtime, the Thunder meltdown assured the Boomers of being on the Denver/San Antonio side of the West bracket, as opposed to the Portland/Laker side.
Most think that's a good thing. We'll see soon enough, with the playoffs, which Oklahoma City can only hope are as glorious as this regular season.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.