Sam Presti in a brief Q&A: “Like every team in professional sports, our goal is to win a championship. We believe in order for us to achieve sustained success, we first have to put ourselves in position where year-in and year-out we are positioned to be among a handful of teams that believe that if they execute and have a little good fortune along the way can impact the post-season and be the last team standing. We feel that we are amongst that handful of teams currently, but we also want to ensure that our players and organization stay in that position for the foreseeable future. It is essentially trying to improve your odds of achieving your goals by allowing yourself increased opportunities.”
John Schuhmann of NBA.com has OKC third: “Russell Wesbrook’s game-winner has been the highlight of the Thunder’s seven-game winning streak that has included wins over the Nuggets, Clippers, Spurs, Warriors and Wolves. The young bench – Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb in particular – continues to provide a big lift. Two more marquee matchups – against the Blazers’ No.3 offense and Pacers’ No. 1 defense – await this week.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com has them fourth: “The Thunder have the 16th-best bench in the league, according to HoopsStats.com. That’s all they need with their starters’ firepower.”
Same for Marc Stein: “If you see the outcomes of super-close games to be random events, as many stat experts do, you won’t be too impressed to hear that OKC has already won four games by three points or fewer after only three such W’s last season. Us? We’re more apt to tip our hats in these situations.”
KD won Western Conference Player of the Week.
Darnell Mayberry: “The upcoming road stretch doesn’t offer the most challenging schedule. Only two of the next five road teams — Atlanta and Memphis — made the playoffs last year. But the Thunder will be tested by playing three games in the next four nights, a test that will include a potentially brutal pit stop in Portland for a showdown with the red-hot Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday. Oklahoma City also has other issues to iron out before worrying about the strength of the road schedule, like squeezing solid and consistent contributions out of its role players when away from home.”
Zach Lowe of Grantland likes this lineup: “Kevin Durant–Reggie Jackson–Russell Westbrook–Thabo Sefolosha–Serge Ibaka; This lineup has logged 19 total minutes in six games, per NBA.com. Please play this lineup more often, Scott Brooks.”