Thunder Rumblings

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Here’s the point: Thunder is chasing history

John Rohde Modified: April 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm •  Published: March 27, 2013
CELEBRATION: Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a play during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March, 24, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
CELEBRATION: Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a play during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March, 24, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

ESPN Insider Tom Haberstroh has an intriguing take on this year’s Thunder, which is based on how convincingly OKC has won games this season.

“We’re lucky to witness a team chasing history these days,” Haberstroh writes in a column you can read here. “Stacked with superstar talent and a host of savvy role players, this ruthlessly dominant team has a chance to reach hallowed territory with less than a dozen games left on the schedule. Can it pull it off? That history-chasing team? The Oklahoma City Thunder. Oh, you thought I was talking about the Miami Heat, didn’t you? Guess again.”

Haberstroh’s chart indicates the Thunder appears bound for this year’s NBA title.

Team W-L W pct. MOV Title?
1995-96 Bulls 72-10 .878 +12.2 Yes
1996-97 Bulls 69-13 .841 +10.8 Yes
1991-92 Bulls 67-15 .817 +10.4 Yes
2007-08 Celtics 66-16 .805 +10.3 Yes
1985-86 Celtics 67-15 .817 +9.4 Yes
1986-87 Lakers 65-17 .793 +9.3 Yes
2012-13 Thunder 52-19 .732 +9.2 ?

(since 3-point shot was added in 1979-80)

Haberstroh examines margin of victory (MOV) in the 3-point basket era. Keep in mind the Thunder’s MOV could be even wider had coach Scott Brooks not sat several starters the entire fourth quarter during routs this season. Here are the latest “rout” standings for OKC starters who have skipped the fourth quarter.

15 – Perkins (two non-routs)

14 – Westbrook (all routs)

13 – Durant (all routs)

11 – Ibaka (all routs)

9 – Sefolosha (one non-rout)

Haberstroh gives the Heat its due, but also takes note of the Thunder and writes: “Yes, the Heat have won 27 games in a row and stand just six wins away from tying the 1971-72 Lakers’ record of 33 consecutive victories. What the Heat are doing is a truly remarkable feat, perhaps even more so than winning the title, which we see a team do every season. Get this: With Sunday’s 20-point romp over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Thunder have outscored opponents by an average of 9.2 points per game, which leads the league. No one’s been better in that column this season. Not the San Antonio Spurs. Not even the mighty Heat, who have a comfortable 4½-game lead on the Thunder in the league standings. But this Thunder team? Don’t sleep on them, folks. They’re chasing history as well, and it might be more indicative of championship material than what the Heat are doing right now.”

- John Rohde

 

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