Darnell Mayberry wondered yesterday if the young Thunder are ready for postseason play. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on that topic: “I don’t really understand the point of asking whether or not the Thunder are ready for the playoffs. Does that matter? They’re going to the playoffs. When they get there, they will play basketball. If they play it well, they will win, and be happy. If they play it poorly, they will learn a lot, and fight another day.”
Oklahoma City is tied with Boston in the standings and Christopher Gasper of Boston.com looks back: “Watching Durant play alone is enough to erase the revisionist history about losing the lottery being some sort of stroke of fabled fortune for the Celtics because it beget the Big Three and another championship. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to watch Durant and Rondo play together, not to mention the fact that the Celtics, unlike Durant’s Thunder, would still have a legitimate power forward in Jefferson.”
Power. Marc Stein has OKC at six: “One problem with all the justified slobbering over Durant: We’ve all shortchanged Westbrook. KD’s point guard has racked up seven 20/10 games since Feb. 1, tied with LeBron for tops in the league in that span.”
NBA.com puts OKC sixth: “With Sunday’s win over Utah, the Thunder are just a half-game behind the Jazz for home-court advantage in what would be a great four-five series in the West. Oklahoma City has won all three meetings so far, with one more to play in Utah on April 6.”
SI sixth: “They stole the mental edge from potential future first-round foe Utah by blitzing the Jazz with 119 points on 60.3 percent shooting in a home win Sunday. “We did show them we’re not going to back down,” Kevin Durant told The Oklahoman. “We’re going to play physical. We’re going to play hard every possession. We did a good job of that. That’s a tough team.”
Fran Blinebury for NBA.com: “Most of the experts would have to admit they’ve been waiting for the kids in Oklahoma City to eventually take a look around at the heights to which they’ve soared and then come falling back to earth. But Kevin Durant won’t stop playing like an MVP and coach Scott Brooks won’t stop telling the Thunder they’re for real. Now this week they face their last road of the season of more than two games — Charlotte, Toronto, Indiana — which could even push them into a spot for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.”
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So I did a little research yesterday and cooked up Oklahoma City’s Magic Number. (For those that don’t know, it’s basically the number of games the Thunder need to win coupled with teams behind them to lose for OKC to clinch a playoff birth). As of today, OKC’s Magic Number is 11 for Houston and 10 for Memphis. So they’re closing in.