By: Jazmine August
Uncomfortably holding the 9th seed in the Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves in a position far from the 2012 season when they were crowned Western Conference champs and went on to face Lebron James & the Miami Heat in the Finals. Unfortunately, their season has been a rollercoaster ride riddled with injury ; both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were out during the start of the season; Westbrook with a fractured right hand and Durant with a Jones fracture to the foot , along with 5 reserves being out at the same time.
After struggling during the first half of the season, things started to turn around after a 3-team trade that sent Reggie Jackson to the Pistons and Kendrick Perkins to the Utah Jazz (subsequently traded to Cavs) . In return, the Thunder received D.J. Augustin, Enes Kanter, Steve Novak, Kyle Singler and Deion Waiters. The chemistry seemed almost instantaneous between the newest members of the team and soon after Russell Westbrook went on a legendary run. Since the All-Star break, Russell Westbrook has had 11 triple doubles and with his 54 point performance in Sunday’s, has passed James Harden for this season’s scoring title. Playing at a MVP caliber level, Russell Westbrook has willed his team to this point. It is only one thing standing in the way, the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pelicans have had an outstanding season, with their star player Anthony Davis making a strong case that he is one of the Top 5 players in the NBA; averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds. New Orleans currently clings to the 8th seed in the Western Conference and holds the tie breaker over the Thunder. OKC’s roller coaster ride will come down to the 82nd and final game of the season and a loss by the Pelicans to the defending champion Spurs; to keep their post-season hopes alive. My gut tells me the “basketball Gods” will be on Russell Westbrook’s side and Round 1 of NBA Playoffs will look something like OKC vs. Golden State. Seven games. Winner takes all.