Thunder continues dominance in Northwest, sign veteran Fisher

By David A.

The Oklahoma City Thunder continues to dominate the NBA’s Northwest division. Even though OKC has only won 6 of their past 10 games, well below their season winning percentage of .732, the Thunder continues to lead the Denver Nuggets by 6 games.

OKC is currently 41-15 on the season; 25-4 at home; 16-11 on the road; and an impressive 28-8 in the conference. The Thunder trails only the San Antonio Spurs by three games for the top spot in the Western Conference and has the third best overall record behind the Spurs and the Miami Heat.

Denver is playing well, as they are in fifth place in the conference just three games behind the fourth place Memphis Grizzlies. The Utah Jazz is a full ten games behind OKC in the division and is currently in seventh place in the conference. Portland is a dismal last in the division and four games behind Houston for the eighth and last playoff spot in the conference.

Oklahoma City leads the league in points per game on offense with an average of 106.6, more importantly is playing better defense of late and is now No. 15 in points allowed per game at 97.5.

Over the weekend, the Thunder humiliated the Chicago Bulls by allowing Chicago just 72 points in the game on 29% shooting from the field. Prior to that game, the Thunder defense had allowed opponents to score an average of 113 points over the past four games.

Kevin Durant did not score his usual 29 plus points in the game versus Chicago, but he showed how his overall game has improved as he scored just 19, but had 16 boards and dished out six assists. The win was the Thunder’s second straight after dropping three consecutive for just the first time the entire season.

Prior to the Chicago win, each of the four previous Thunder opponents had at least a 46% shooting percentage from the floor. The Thunder also held their opponents under the century mark in points allowed for the fifth consecutive game. OKC had not done that since January of 2011.

On Monday, the Thunder signed Derek Fisher the veteran guard. The team needed a third point guard after they traded Eric Maynor to Portland. Fisher will now be with the Thunder for a second consecutive season down the stretch towards the postseason. Last season he played in 20 games to end the regular season and all 20 during the playoffs. Fisher has not played this season after failing to sign with any team during the offseason as a free agent. The veteran guard won five NBA titles as a Los Angeles Laker, but was traded last season to Houston, then bought out his contract with Houston to play for OKC.

OKC will now look to find more consistency on defense and fine tune their offense to prepare for the postseason. The Western Conference has four of the top five teams in the league and has far more depth than the Eastern Conference.