OKLAHOMA CITY, OK–You read the headline right, the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team, what once was the Seattle Supersonics and a team that only won 20 games in their inaugural season is headed to the 2010 NBA playoffs with an incredible head of steam.
After a 121-166 victory last night over the Dallas Mavericks, the stage is set for the Thunder to make it’s first playoff run as an Oklahoma City team and it’s 23rd time as an NBA team, having made the post season 22 times as the Sonics.
The Thunder’s success has had a ripple effect on it’s NBA D-league squad, our very own Tulsa 66ers, who themselves earned a playoff spot last night despite dropping a game to the Iowa Energy last 105-93 at the Tulsa Convention Center.
The 66ers have earned their first playoff berth in franchise history, with only the individual playoff seed to be decided. After a game on Sunday in Reno the Sixers will either be a 6th or 8th seed team in the D-League playoffs, depending on a win or loss.
So without making too much noise, the NBA has invaded the Sooner State and playoff excitement is building on both ends of the Turner Turnpike.
Leading the charge for the Thunder is former Texas Longhorn Kevin Durant. Through 75 games Durant has averaged 29.6 points per game and 7.5 rebounds and hot on his sneakers is UCLA product Russell Westbrook, whose 16 point, 5 rebound average provides solid support.
The players the Thunder have assigned to Tulsa have included D.J. White, Byron Mullens and Kyle Weaver and all three players have performed excellently in the show, and their performance has carried over to the 66ers overall success.
Behind the players on both teams is of course their coaches. Scott Brooks took over for P.J. Carlesimo early on in the Thunder’s inaugural season last year and his sage guidance allowed the Thunder to double the number of wins this season and set the course for the Thunder to clinch a playoff berth. Conversely, 66ers coach Nate Tibbetts took a struggling 66ers team and turned them around in such a way to do the same thing.
As of right now both the Thunder and the 66ers are in the playoffs but they do not yet know who they will face, how many home games there will be, on anything of that nature. The races both teams are in are just too tight for any hard and fast predictions to be made. Of the two teams, the most accessible to Tulsa fans will be the 66ers, who if they play any home games will of course host them in the friendly confines of the Tulsa Convention Center.
Thunder fans who wish to experience the NBA playoffs in OKC can go to thunder.nba.com for ticket information, and Sixers fans can go to tulsa66ers.com for playoff ticket information or call 585-8444 for more information.