Thursday night TV will provide plenty of drama for Thunder fans

OKC will find out who it plays in the first round of the NBA playoffs — and if Kobe beats KD for the league scoring title.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 25, 2012
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This is no time to take a break from the NBA, Thunder fans.

Sure, your team’s regular season is over after a 106-101 loss to the Nuggets. Yes, the boys in blue will be lying low until the playoffs start this weekend.

But plenty of drama remains.

Who will the Thunder play in the first round?

Who will win the NBA scoring title — KD or Kobe?

All will be revealed Thursday on the final night of the regular season. Told you there was plenty of reason to stay tuned, Thunder fans.

“I’ve heard of split screen,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, “but I don’t know if you can put it in tri-screen.”

Maybe not, but this would be the time to try. Dallas and Denver still have a chance to be the No. 7 seed that faces OKC in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Thursday night, both of them will play at 7 Oklahoma time.

Dallas at Atlanta.

Denver at Minnesota.

If you want a rematch of last year’s first-round series against the Nuggets, you have to cheer for a Denver loss and a Dallas win.

If you want a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals against the Mavericks, then you’ve got to pull for a Denver win.

Those aren’t the only games you’ll want to keep an eye on, either. The Lakers at the Kings will determine if Thunder star Kevin Durant wins his third consecutive scoring title. He scored 32 points Wednesday night, meaning Kobe Bryant will need 38 points to best him.

Durant has done all he can, although if Sam Presti really wants the Thunder to model the Spurs, Oklahoma City’s gonna have to work on its scoring-title philosophy.

On the final night of the regular season in 1994, Spurs big man David Robinson trailed Shaquille O’Neal by 33 points in the race for the scoring title. He got more than enough.

He scored 71 points.

The Spurs beat the woeful Clippers easily, but Robinson still played a whopping 44 minutes that night.

But that was hardly the Spurs’ first experience with a scoring-title race. They had a hand in the greatest scoring duel in league history — George Gervin vs. David Thompson.

Heading into the last day of the season, the Spurs’ sharpshooter and the Nuggets’ skywalker were neck and neck. Thompson needed to outscore Gervin by 16 points, and in an afternoon game, he put up a big number — 73 points.

That meant Gervin was going to have to score 58 points that night to win the title. And he did.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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