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OKC Thunder has faults but still 33-17

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: February 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm •  Published: February 6, 2011

The Thunder can't sustain a defensive effort, can't close out properly on shooters, can't stop dribble penetration, can't grab a rebound in crunch time and can't consistently make 3-pointers.

Yet, for all Oklahoma City supposedly can't do, it sports a 33-17 record through 50 games.

But that seems to be overshadowed, lost somewhere in the haze of heightened expectations.

The Thunder, though, now enters the season's home stretch sitting atop the Northwest division, in fourth place in the Western Conference standings and on pace to win four more games than last year's 50-win team.

It's obvious the Thunder hasn't played as well as it would like. OKC has become an offensive-oriented team rather than racking up victories through its preferred defensive philosophy.

The Thunder is averaging 104.6 points and allowing 102.6. Opponents are shooting 46.8 percent against the Thunder. Only seven teams allow a higher percentage. Only eight teams yield a higher percentage from the 3-point line than OKC's 37.2 percent.

Each of those figures is far higher than the Thunder's totals from a year ago. That can't be dismissed when evaluating the team's performance.

But there is something to be said for a ballclub that wins despite its warts.

For the Thunder, these mounting victories in the face of imperfect performances should be viewed as more of a positive than a negative; the next step in the team's growth.

Oklahoma City's 5-0 record in overtime and 17-6 mark in games decided by six points or less proves it is not only winning, but also understanding how to win.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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Two seasons ago, through 50 games: 12-38 (.240)

Last season, through 50 games: 29-21 (.580)

This season, through 50 games: 33-17 (.660)

On pace for: 54-28

Current playoff seeding: No. 4


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