Russell Westbrook was back and instantly the Thunder looked much better — his pressure he puts on a defense with his aggressive play and that opened up passing lanes and good shots for everyone else.
But the Thunder need more — they need to go 44-21 the rest of the way to get to 49 wins that was the Western Conference playoffs cutoff last year. What they need is Kevin Durant back from his foot surgery.
And they may get that sooner rather than later. He went through practice Monday, reports Royce Young of ESPN.
Also on ESPN today, Chris Broussard said that Durant is expected back with the Thunder within a week. It’s been just more than six weeks since the surgery expected to keep him out six-to-eight weeks.
If true — and the fact he is practicing suggests it is likely true — this would be huge for OKC. They can still make the playoffs in the West if they can just win the rest of the season at the pace they did last year.
Then they become the scariest, most dangerous seven/eight seed ever.