But OKC has quickly shown that it is turning the corner and using this 14-game stretch that started March 13 and will last through Friday at Indiana to gain steam going into the playoffs.
The Thunder has won five straight and seven of its past 10. Every game was against a team currently in the playoffs or fighting for one of the final spots. Over that stretch, the Thunder has registered dominant wins against Denver, Portland (twice), the L.A. Clippers, Miami and the Lakers. OKC also gutted out a double overtime classic against Minnesota.
“It was a good challenge and it still is. We're still in the middle of that,” Brooks said. “These next four games are high-end playoff teams. Anytime you can play the best game after game after game you get better. And our guys have always been a team, a group, that likes to play big games. And they're getting better.”
Westbrook said the mounting wins are building confidence.
“It shows that we can win on the road and beat the elite teams, especially when we play our type of basketball,” Westbrook said.
Kevin Durant and his mother, Wanda Pratt, both said on Saturday that they did not join in on the recent “Lotto Frenzy” that swept the nation. The MegaMillions prize was more than $640 million … Chicago is a league-best 21-6 on the road this season. Oklahoma City is a league-best 22-4 at home. The Thunder, with eight road losses, also is the only other team to still have single-digit losses on the road … Former Oklahoma State standout John Lucas III is averaging a career-high 6.7 points, two assists and 1.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game with Chicago this season. Lucas scored a career-high 25 points against Washington on Jan. 11. On March 14, in a four-point win over Miami, Lucas scored a team-high 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 27 minutes off the bench.
The Thunder will face the Bulls on Sunday afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena before hosting Memphis on Monday night. Sunday's game against Chicago is scheduled for a noon tip.