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Why the Thunder could win and why it could lose

By John Rohde, Staff Writer, Published: April 15, 2011


The next step: Perhaps never in the NBA history has a bunch of first-round losers been complimented more than the Thunder was last year against the Lakers. Time for the next step.

Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed: No more warm fuzzies when opponents speak about the Thunder and it's primarily because of these two guys, who back down from no one.

Youth is served: The Thunder is young, gifted and — oddly enough — the players like each other. Sometimes they just don't know any better, but their exuberance off-sets any shortcomings.


Forcing the issue: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are All-Stars, but things can often go wrong when they try to play like superstars. Just let it come. Patience. Patience. Patience.

Losing a track meet: OKC is breathtaking to watch in transition, but so is Denver. When you do something well, it can be demoralizing when your opponent does it equally as well.

Too much pressure: Success is fun when no one else sees it coming, but expectations have skyrocketed and everyone is watching now. Surviving the first round is a minimum requirement.

By John Rohde