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OKC Thunder: Best team in the NBA resides in Oklahoma City

The Thunder has defeated the “Beasts of the East” in consecutive weekends. Should there be any doubt that OKC has the league's No. 1 team?
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 1, 2012

I know I should be telling you to simmer down, reminding you that the Thunder's 92-78 pasting of the Bulls is a bit of an aberration that Chicago is a shell of itself without Derrick Rose, that back-to-back Sunday victories against the Beasts of the East doesn't automatically deliver the NBA title to Oklahoma City.

But I can't do it. I can't tamp down the excitement.

This Thunder team is the best in the NBA.

Go crazy, folks. Go crazy.

“There's not much that they don't have,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, a tell-it-like-it-is guy who's not prone to hyperbole. “They play hard, unselfishly, smart.

“They are tough.”

And getting tougher by the minute.

This is a team that started the season as one of the league's best teams, but this wire-to-wire victory against the Bulls was a reminder that the Thunder continues to improve. And I'm not talking about offense or defense, though both of them were darn impressive Sunday.

Shooting 48.6 percent against the defensive-minded Bulls?

Holding the team with the league's best record to 78 points?

Building a second-half lead as big as 30 points?

I don't care if Rose was sidelined with an injured groin. He's been sidelined for 19 other games this season, and the Bulls were 14-5 in those games.

These Bulls are not a horrible team without Rose. Not a championship contender but not a bunch of chumps, either.

And the Thunder ran them out of the gym.

The Boys in Blue did it with a third-quarter surge the likes of which we've seen more and more of lately, a step-on-their-throats mentality that is the latest sign of growth on this squad.

The Thunder had a nice 10-point lead at halftime, but in less than six minutes, that lead had ballooned to 25 points. It was as good a stretch as you'll see in the NBA.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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