Share “Thunder gets off to solid start”

By Mike Baldwin Modified: November 29, 2009 at 12:27 am •  Published: November 29, 2009

(Cue up Jim Mora’s famous quote).

Sure, it’s too early to project whether the Thunder can stay in playoff contention all season.

But with wins over Orlando, San Antonio, Miami and Utah, some Thunder fans are buzzing about possibly making the playoffs.

"The fact we’re getting better gives fans something to look forward to,” Kevin Durant said. "Hopefully down the line the playoffs are in our future. That would be pretty cool. But we’re just taking it game to game.”

That’s been the approach of coach Scott Brooks and general manager Sam Presti. Don’t worry about the standings. Focus on improving day to day.

"Even though everybody is encouraged with our start, it’s only November,” Nick Collison said. "There’s a lot of basketball left. We’re happy with how we’ve played some games. Other nights we haven’t played as well.”

One reason for optimism is the Thunder is above .500 while playing a schedule stacked with playoff teams.

Oklahoma City has only two games left with last year’s finalists. They’re done playing Orlando and have two games left with the Lakers.

The most encouraging sign is the Thunder is 5-4 on the road. Last season, OKC won eight road games. All season. The road success has included statement wins in San Antonio, Miami, Detroit and Salt Lake City.

Once the schedule flips to 2010, OKC’s schedule gets easier.

The Thunder hasn’t even faced probable lottery teams like New Jersey, Minnesota, Memphis, Charlotte, Indiana, Golden State or Philadelphia, teams a combined 56 games below .500.

Oklahoma City also has a dozen games left against the Kings, Bucks, Pistons, Wizards, Hornets, Bulls and Raptors, similar teams hoping to finish above .500 to earn a playoff berth.

"It’s good people are saying good things about us,” Collison said.