Brooks put it: “just basically in passing.”
“We're trying to get to something bigger,” Durant said.
With little of significance at stake, the Thunder's final four games will now be true tune-ups for the postseason. Oklahoma City will close the season with one final meeting against the Nuggets on Friday before a road back-to-back against the Lakers and Sacramento and finally the season finale next Wednesday against Milwaukee.
“You have to get better at what you do,” Brooks said. “We have enough offense. We have enough defense. We just have to continue to improve on those areas.”
Some potential focal points stuck out against the Clippers. The Thunder struggled to close out L.A. despite taking a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter and maintaining that margin with 3:32 left to play. Late-game defensive lapses and some shaky offense, which included troublesome sideline out of bounds plays, gave the Clippers a chance at stealing the Thunder's thunder.
But Blake Griffin (35 points, 11 rebounds, six assists) missed a potential three-point play opportunity with 14.4 seconds remaining that could have tied it at 108-all.
Only after Durant made a pair of foul shots with 12.7 seconds remaining and Russell Westbrook squirted free for a fast break dunk with 4.5 ticks on the clock did the Thunder finally ice the victory and the division title.
The achievement was then announced by the public address announcer shortly after the final horn.
“We didn't have that as a goal this year,” said Thabo Sefolosha. “The goal is to get better every game and not really look at any of the achievements that we're making. The only thing we pride ourselves on is getting better and improving as a team. I think it shows that we did it.”
Wednesday's box score
Darnell Mayberry's blog