Will the Thunder ‘shock’ the league?

By: Asad Jamal

Recapping from last night’s game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Thunder are really starting to get on a roll as the OKC won 94-103.

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Although the OKC are not completely rehabilitated as a team with all of the series of misfortunes, the Thunder are showing signs of recovery and brewing up a ‘storm’. Pun Intended.

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Last Night’s win over the Cavaliers couldn’t have been more perfectly timed for a recovering team as they played a game without LeBron James and with an injury on Kyrie Irving.

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Russell Westbrook had risen for a jumper, when Kyrie Irving collided with Westbrook’s torso and Irving’s left knee knocking into Westbrook’s left knee, left foot planting awkwardly inward, followed by stumbling and sliding to the ground in agony.

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Irving stated later after vowing not to watch the replay, “I felt something buckle.” Of course this is a scary situation for players, fans, and coaches alike.

Cavaliers coach David Blatt stated that as he watched the injury live he felt “Fear, worry, concern… and hope. Which ultimately won the day.” It did ultimately win the day for both the Cavaliers and the Thunder as the Thunder receive another win and the Cavaliers avoid a problematic injury as Kyrie Irving picked himself back up and played 23 of the 24 minutes in the final quarter.

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Fear, worry, concern…and hope are also emotions that surged through Thunder players, fans, and coaches at the start of the 2014-15 Regular Season. Those emotions must have gotten even higher now that they’ve survived 14 games without Westbrook and 17 games without Kevin Durant, who are now back and ready to play. Not to mention injuries to Perry Jones, Reggie Jackson and Anthony Morrow, among others, to ‘spark’ a 4 win streak. Once again, pun intended.

But what’s the big picture here? The Playoff Picture.

Could the Thunder become one of the most dangerous No. 8 seeds in NBA history?

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have a chance to repeat the feat of the New York Knicks in 1999, who rose from the last spot in the playoffs to the NBA Finals. Don’t forget that Knicks also suffered injuries that year with Patrick Ewing. Plus, the NBA suffered a 30-game lockout, so there were less games to play.

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The Thunder do have much more time, with 60 games remaining, but the Western Conference is a rigorous mountain to climb to get a seed spot. The Western Conference has teams like the Golden State Warriors, who are 19-2. That may be too much ground to make up, especially in the short term since the Thunder’s schedule isn’t especially forgiving. The slate includes the Warriors, Trail Blazers, and two games with the Suns, all before 2015 starts. This is the real challenge for OKC. However, it’s a very real possibility that Thunder could mount an amazing comeback and win the Finals, no matter how far behind they’ve fallen.

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As long as Durant, Westbrook, and the rest of the team perform to their usual offensive capabilities, the 8th seed is theirs for the taking. Easy Money.

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