Last week some teams fought for playoff spots and others looked to go home on a good note, yet the final game of the NBA regular season versus the Milwaukee Bucks was a time of rest for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In a game where superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook only played 23 and 21 minutes respectively, resting the starters for the playoffs seemed to be coach Scott Brooks’s main focus as opposed to winning the regular season finale.
Despite limited playing time, Westbrook managed to rack up 20 points as Durant ended the season as the league’s scoring champion for the second year in a row.
The bigger story is what some call the “real” NBA season as Oklahoma City’s own hope to make a memorable run in the tournament toward the NBA championship.
With the recent addition of center Kendrick Perkins and the push of power forward Serge Ibaka into the starting lineup, fans and experts alike are eager to see how far the Thunder can go.
After last year’s exciting, yet deflating, first-round loss against the detested Los Angeles Lakers, expectations are soaring for the fourth seeded Thunder in this year’s playoffs.
With improved play from shooting guard James Harden in addition to the altered starting lineup accompanied by Durant and Westbrook, talks of a title coming to Oklahoma City are getting louder by the minute.
Before we look ahead, however, the Thunder must focus on winning the ongoing opening round series against the Denver Nuggets.
Without scoring machine Carmelo Anthony, many assumed the Nuggets would plummet to irrelevancy. Instead, the Nuggets have been on a roll without their former superstar.
The series against the Thunder is proving to be one of the more tantalizing first round matchups, as is always the case with the fourth and fifth seeds.
Only time will tell if the Thunder can make a legitimate run toward an NBA title, but regardless, there are many reasons to be excited in Oklahoma City for a long time to come.