With a 102-95 win over Cleveland on Thursday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder secured its fourth 50-win season in the past five years.
The lockout-shortened 2011-12 season prevented the Thunder from making five straight. Oklahoma City finished that season at 47-19, a .712 winning percentage that would have translated to a 58-win year.
“Fifty wins is obviously the sign of a good team having a good year,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We have the ability to, hopefully, get beyond that. We have good players that are committed to one another. I think that just (speaks to) our consistency. The expectations are there every year for us. But we put higher expectations on ourselves. We want to challenge ourselves to play consistent every night, and I think our leaders do a good job of that.”
The Thunder is on pace for its second straight 60-win season. The Thunder finished 60-22 last season, a franchise record in the Oklahoma City era.
To finish with a higher winning percentage than the previous year for the sixth straight season, the Thunder would need to go 11-3 in its final 14 games.
WESTBROOK GETS THE NIGHT OFF IN CLEVELAND
Russell Westbrook was held out against the Cavs for a scheduled night of rest, as the Thunder continues to manage the point guard’s minutes while he recovers from a third surgery on his right knee.
Westbrook is not expected to play in both games of back-to-back sets for the remainder of the season. Thursday was the second game this week that he sat out. He’s now played one game in seven days.
Westbrook will return to the lineup Friday at Toronto.
Reggie Jackson scored 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting with four rebounds and six assists in 27 minutes while starting in place of Westbrook.
LAMB GETS MEANINGFUL MINUTES
A familiar face unexpectedly returned to the rotation Thursday.
It was shooting guard Jeremy Lamb.
Lamb started the second quarter and scored eight of his 10 points in the frame while playing the period’s entire 12 minutes. Lamb finished 4-for-10 from the floor and added three rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes.
It was the most minutes Lamb has played since Feb. 11 at Portland. It also marked Lamb’s first double-digit scoring game since Feb. 13 at the Los Angeles Lakers, snapping a 12-game streak of Lamb scoring fewer than 10 points.
Lamb, Jackson and rookie center Steven Adams are the only players who have appeared in every game this season for the Thunder.
Durant was whistled for his 14th technical foul of the season with 16.9 seconds remaining in the first quarter for taunting the Cavs following a dunk. Durant is now two technical fouls shy of an automatic one-game suspension...The Thunder made 10 3-pointers, marking the sixth time in seven games that OKC has hit at least 10 3-pointers...OKC attempted 31 3s. Its season high is 35...The Thunder led by as many as 24 points, but the Cavs stormed back with a 21-2 rally that got them as close as five with 1:12 left to play...The Thunder scored only two fast break points against the Cavs.