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News » Thunder notches 20th victory


Thunder notches 20th victory


Thunder notches 20th victory
MINNEAPOLIS - The Thunder should finish with a better record than the Sonics posted their final season in Seattle.

Oklahoma City's 97-90 win over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon at the Target Center assured the record won't be worse.

With a dozen games left in the regular season, the Thunder already has matched the 20 wins the Sonics posted last year.

"That gives us a little hope. It makes us feel a little better," said Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, who scored a game-high 30 points. "Obviously, we haven't had the season we wanted to. But we're getting better. We're excited about that."

Nick Collison, in his sixth season with the organization, said notching the 20th win - a dominant performance in which the Thunder led by as many as 32 points and emptied the bench - is good and bad news.

"When you have 30 wins or less, it's all kind of the same," Collison said. "We've had a couple of good months that maybe we haven't had some other years. That's good. But at the end of the day, our record is what it is."

Oklahoma City is 17-21 since New Year's Eve, 6-5 in March and was a .500 team in January (7-7).

"It shows how much better we've gotten, how much we're dedicated to this whole organization," Durant said. "Guys never gave up even though we knew we weren't going to the playoffs awhile back. We continued to fight and get better. We didn't play for lottery balls."

Just the opposite.

Minnesota dropped into a last-place tie with the young Thunder in the Northwest Division. With the way the two teams have played the past two months, the Thunder might pass the Timberwolves by season's end.

Based on recent trends, it's highly probable Oklahoma City will wind up with the No. 6 pick in the June 25 NBA Draft, pending the outcome of the May 19 Draft Lottery.

"In reality, what's the big difference between 20 and 25 or 26 wins?" said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "It's how you're playing, how you're improving, how your guys are developing."

The Thunder is playing much better, especially defensively.

Following a 3-29 start, it appeared the Thunder's record in its debut season in Oklahoma City might be worse than the Sonics' 20-62 finish a year ago.

But after suffering through the second-worst start in league history, the Thunder has played close to .500 Basketball the past three months. Moves for Thabo Sefolosha and Nenad Krstic have helped, too.

"We do have hope for the future," Collison said. "But just because we've had some successful stretches doesn't mean we're automatically going to turn the corner. It's encouraging, for sure, but there's a big difference between where we are and being in the playoffs."

Sonics history

The Sonics finished with a winning record only once in their final six seasons in Seattle.

Season W-L 2007-08 20-62 2006-07 31-51 2005-06 35-47 2004-05 52-30 2003-04 37-45 2002-03 40-42


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 26, 2009

 

 
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