The Thunder was the first team to reach the NBA's Western Conference semifinals, and now your friendly neighborhood Spidermen are all the rage.
Everyone from TrueHoop Network to Thunder-needler George Karl is raving about the Durantulas.
Locally, too, enthusiasm reigns. Witnesses report that Reno Avenue and Bricktown celebrated like V-J Day late Wednesday night, with masses of fans in the streets chanting “OKC! OKC!” and car horns honking to the rhythm of “clap, clap-clap, clap your hands.”
How kooky have we gone over this NBA playoff success? Otherwise rational people are staging serious debate over which foe would best serve Thunder purposes in the next round.
Spurs or Grizzlies?
No, I am not kidding.
The answer is clear. The Thunder should much prefer Beale Street to the Riverwalk. For this reason. The Thunder would spend less time there.
Homecourt advantage is paramount. You always want homecourt advantage. You always want to play a potential Game 7 while wearing home whites, not road blues.
I understand all the issues. All legit. The Memphis matchup is more difficult for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who would have to deal with elite defenders Tony Allen and Shane Battier. Most believe that Kendrick Perkins is an answer to the Grizzlies' inside duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, but we haven't seen it. Don't know for sure.
San Antonio clearly is playing on old legs. Tim Duncan is 35. Manu Ginobili 33. Antonio McDyess 36. Richard Jefferson 30.
Six weeks ago, the Spurs were 54-12 and on pace for 67 wins. Since then, the Spurs are 9-12 and look inferior to the eighth-seeded Grizzlies, who before this series had never so much as won a playoff game.
The Spurs have four NBA titles. The Grizzlies still don't have four post-season wins.
But San Antone-Memphis, which stages Game 6 tonight with the Grizzlies up 3-2, doesn't seem like an upset. What is going on?
We've seen great teams, epic dynasties, fall off the cliff. The 1965 Yankees. The 1968 Packers. The 1970 Celtics.
But not in mid-stream. Not in the middle of a year. Not with a team that won 61 regular-season games, then goes all Indiana Pacers in the playoffs.
The Spurs no longer scare anyone. If Memphis isn't intimidated, Durant, Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins won't be. If Sam Young and Mike Conley can run rings around the Spurs, Serge Ibaka and James Harden can do the same.
But still. Homecourt advantage trumps all.
The Thunder has it against Memphis, doesn't have it against San Antonio.
The Thunder this season is 33-11 at home, 26-17 on the road.
Through six games of a seven-game series, the Thunder would play three times in either Memphis or San Antonio. But Game 7 against the Spurs would be in San Antonio, where the Spurs are 38-6 this season. Game 7 against the Grizzlies would be in OKC; the Grizzlies are 17-27 on the road.
Let's settle down. The revelry of Wednesday night has us all feeling light-headed. But the Thunder should covet home-court advantage, even if it means playing the mighty Grizzlies instead of the struggling Spurs.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. 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.