As we arrive at the All-Star break, the Thunder have finished the first leg of the season on a six game win streak, finishing with a 30-21 record. Currently they sit at 5th place in the treacherous Western Conference. I think it's safe to say that no one expected this. When asked how many wins the Thunder would amass this season, people would guess anywhere from 25 to 35. Even the Diehards who claimed 40 wins as a possibility knew they were way out on a limb. Suprisingly, here we are. Watching this team of Young Guns make believers out of us all. Night after night we see them learn. We see them develop into a more cohesive unit, a team that can win with defense. One thing we have seen in 25 straight games, is that K Smooth is gonna score his points. He's challenging for the scoring title, it's what he does and he does it with relative ease. When this team is getting solid contributions from someone other than KD, they are really dangerous. Recently, Russel Westbrook has shown the abilty to be a consistent second option. He has routinely flirted with triple doubles this season and even a quadruple double. He rebounds at a tremendous rate for a point guard. Jeff Green continues to play his role. When Green plays well the Thunder can beat anyone in the NBA. He is the X factor, the third leg of the tripod. The Rookies continue to impress. Ibaka, Harden and Maynor consistently give quality minutes for Head Coach Scott Brooks. Frequently on the floor at the same time, they continue to earn more and more of Brooks' trust. In the last game before the All Star break against Portland, the Rookie trio helped fuel a run at the beginning of the fourth quarter with Harden scoring off Maynor assists and Ibaka playing suffocating defense before KD re-entered the game to close the door on the Blazers with 3 straight buckets. The Thunder look more and more like a lock for the playoffs everyday and with a favorable schedule in the second half, some writers are picking them to challenge for Home Court in the first round. Who knows if that could happen or not? What I do know is if the Thunder have taught us anything in the first half of the '09-10 season it would be... Dont underestimate them.
Watch Thunder All Star Kevin Durant defend his H-O-R-S-E title on All Star Weekend in Dallas, Tx. He will also participate in the Big Game on Sunday and Coach the Rookie team, featuring Thunder Rookie James Harden, in the Rookies vs. Sophomores game. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will play for the Sophomores.