One reason the Thunder is in excellent position to make the NBA playoffs is its ability to avoid long losing streaks.
Oklahoma City ended a brief two-game slide Friday night, romping to a 109-92 win over Minnesota on Friday at the Ford Center.
The Thunder hasn’t lost more than three consecutive games all season.
"We’ve kept it at a consistent level for a long stretch, which is encouraging,” said Nick Collison. "Defensively, we’ve been pretty good and have been able to keep that up. That’s what has allowed us to avoid a bad streak.”
Beating the Western Conference’s worst team, which has only five road wins all season, isn’t a major accomplishment. But consistently avoiding long losing streaks has been a key factor in OKC’s remarkable turnaround from last season.
All three times the losing streak reached three games this season, the Thunder responded with wins over Orlando, Detroit and Denver.
"It’s tough any time we lose. But we try to say losing two in a row is the limit,” said Kevin Durant. "We respond. We lost so much these past two years, we don’t want to lose again.”
The turning point to the season probably was when the Thunder lost three in a row, and five out of six, to fall one game below .500 just before Christmas. The Thunder won the next night in Phoenix to spark a five-game winning streak. Oklahoma City has been above .500 ever since.
"It’s a sign of toughness,” said coach Scott Brooks. "Our guys are getting (mentally) tougher every day.