A regular season contest in the NBA is often described as a “game of runs,” and in effect, the regular season as a whole is no different. Teams will rattle off a few wins at a time or go into extended losing streaks, and often a team with a hot start can simply coast into the playoffs based on the power of that one, impressive run.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are hardly in a position to coast in the competitive Western Conference, but they’re in the middle of quite the run themselves; the Thunder haven’t lost since January 27th, making them the winners of nine straight and one of the hottest teams in the league. They’ve tackled the Nuggets, the Hawks, and the Mavs over that time, and over the course of their streak, OKC has climbed from 11th in the conference to 5th.
A victory tonight against the Suns would signal the longest winning streak for the Thunder/Sonics since 1996. So no pressure, or anything.
In the process of taking down nine straight opponents, the Thunder appear to have cemented themselves within the tier of quasi-contenders. They’re obviously not yet on the level of the Lakers or Nuggets, but is it so absurd to group them with the Mavericks or Jazz? They’ve outgrown classification with the Spurs, Blazers, and Rockets, and based on their play of late, they deserve consideration for the West’s nearly-elite class of playoff juggernauts. The playoffs are still a lifetime away, but based on how productive OKC’s offense has been, is it so absurd to think that this Thunder team could actually make some noise in the playoffs?