The NBA Finals remain two months and three expectedly grueling series’ away.
But if the Thunder happens to get there, much like back in 2012, the series will start in Oklahoma City.
With Friday’s win over New Orleans, OKC guaranteed itself to have a better record than both the Pacers and Heat, meaning it will have home court in any potential NBA Finals.
With one more win or another Clippers loss, the Thunder will also secure the West’s second seed.
MONTY WILLIAMS COMPARES DURANT TO LEN BIAS
The uniqueness of Kevin Durant’s game has made it hard for anyone to properly place a historical comparison on him.
George Gervin, the lanky and skilled former San Antonio Spurs great, is the guy who gets tossed out most, but even Gervin has shot that down in the past, mentioning differences in their styles.
On Friday, though, Pelicans coach Monty Williams fired out another comparison. And it may be one of the most intriguing.
Speaking before New Orleans’ game in Oklahoma City, Williams said Durant reminds him of Len Bias, the former Maryland star who died two days after being selected second overall in the 1986 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
“(Durant)'s a very unique player, reminds me of what Len Bias would have been if he played in the league,” Williams explained. “(At) 6-8, 6-9, can shoot it and run, can dunk and defend, play many positions. I'm just impressed by the way he gets better every year and his passion for the game.”
Williams then want on to add a mix of two more guys to that Bias comparison.
“I think he's the most unique guy I've seen, like Alex English, Glen Rice, Len Bias, all these guys all in one,” Williams said. “He does everything. You just can't recall a guy that long who can do what he does every single night. Shooting from 30 feet on the floor with confidence, then driving to the basket and dunking on guys and then go post up. To top it off, he's a great teammate and a good kid.”
Williams is helping coach Team USA this summer. He said he’s looking forward to working with Durant.
“I’m sure I can learn a lot being around someone like him for that long of a time,” Williams said. “He’ll probably get tired of me.”
The Thunder is typically one of the most turnover-prone teams in the NBA.
Entering play on Friday, OKC was averaging 14.9 per game, tied for fourth most in the NBA.
But of late, the Thunder has cut down substantially. In the last three games – all wins – OKC had six, eight and 11 turnovers.
After arguing a call late in the third quarter, Durant was handed his 15th technical of the season.
One more would come with an automatic one-game suspension.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Thunder has beat New Orleans 10 straight times and 14 of the past 15.
The Thunder travels to Indiana for a nationally televised Sunday game against the struggling Pacers. Tip is at noon Oklahoma time on ABC. Indiana has lost 13 of the past 21 games.