John Rohde: Thunder's fan base on the road is off to an impressive start

The Oklahoman's John Rohde took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder/NBA Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of the Q&A.
BY JOHN ROHDE jrohde@opubco.com Modified: April 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm •  Published: April 19, 2013
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The Oklahoman's John Rohde took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder/NBA Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of the Q&A.

LB 11:00 a.m. Will the thunder sweep houston?
John Rohde 11:02 a.m. Sweeps are tough to come by, especially against explosive teams like Houston. I'm confident OKC will advance. The Thunder is simply the better team. There'll also be a lot of pressure on James Harden, particularly on the road. OKC should overwhelm the Rockets, but I don't know about 4-0. I picked 4-1.
Steven 11:03 a.m. Is Thunder better off without Beard?
John Rohde 11:05 a.m. Don't know how you could possibly be better off without such a talented player. A better way to describe it is that OKC wasn't hurt nearly as much as many envisioned. Harden is great, but Martin also was a substantial replacement. He nearly matched Harden's stats from last season, albeit in a much different manner.
Peter 11:05 a.m. are the spurs in trouble?
John Rohde 11:08 a.m. Kinda, maybe, sorta. They definitely were in trouble when so many players were out, but they appeared to take a very cautious approach to take aim at the playoffs, which is smart. The biggest potential problem is releasing Stephen Jackson. He had become an emergency reserve. Had Jackson been able to accept that role, sounds like he'd probably still be with the team.
MJ 11:10 a.m. Will Brewer play more now tyhat it's play offs.
John Rohde 11:14 a.m. Hmmm, not sure. He might play if a perimeter opponent is giving OKC fits, or the Thunder gets into foul trouble at the 2 or 3 spot. With Houston, maybe when Kevin Durant sits for three minutes, Brewer might be used against Chandler Parsons for that time. I assume Brewer will become an emergency defender. Offensively, he needs to pass the ball to a teammate as quickly as possible.
Randall 11:14 a.m. Who is the best team in the West?
John Rohde 11:21 a.m. The 49ers. In the NBA, who knows? You have five candidates who are each good enough to survive the Western Conference playoffs. The Thunder and Spurs obviously can. The Grizzlies certainly are mean enough to wear down any team. Denver and the LA Clippers are the two deepest teams in the league -- by far.
Steve 11:21 a.m. Why do you call it Power Lunch when it starts at 11:00? Who eats lunch at 11:00? It is really Power Brunch.
John Rohde 11:22 a.m. Have you ever seen me eat? Talk about power. Time is all relative. Remember, it's always noon somewhere.
Guest 11:22 a.m. CVan anybody in the east beat the Heat?
John Rohde 11:27 a.m. One team can. The Knicks. Indiana went cold at the end of the season. New York beat Miami three times by 20 points twice and also by 12 points. The lone game the Knicks lost to Heat, they led by 16, I think. Will it happen? Probably not, but I'm picking the Knicks. What the heck. That should be a tremendous Eastern Final, if it happens.
Jay 11:28 a.m. Any chance KMART will come back next year?
John Rohde 11:32 a.m. No clue. That'll be up to Kevin Martin, just like it was up to James Harden. Martin won't get nearly as much money as he'd like, just like Harden. Somebody else likely will offer a bigger contract, just like Harden. The playoffs might sway Martin one way or the other. If it's a good experience, perhaps he'll stay. If it ends quickly, he might bolt. I honestly have no clue, one way of the other.
CH 11:32 a.m. Is it cool to be a Thunder fan? It seems there are a lot of fans on the road who aren't Oklahomans. What is your take?
John Rohde 11:35 a.m. It's astounding how much support the team gets on the road. Some are transplanted Oklahomans, but certainly not all of them. It took decades for the Packers, Steelers, Cowboys, Lakers, Celtics, et al, to build a cult following. OKC isn't close to that stage yet, but it certainly is off to an impressive start. ... That's all I have time for. Thanks for the great questions. Game 1 is Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Game 2 is Wednesday at 6 p.m. Both at The Peake.