The franchise clinched another first since moving to Oklahoma City three years ago. The victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night clinched the Northwest Division title for the Thunder.
It's the first such accomplishment since the Seattle SuperSonics won the same division in 2004-05 with a 52-30 record. Oklahoma City improved to 52-26 with four games left in the regular season.
"It's great for our fans. It's great for our city to be division champs," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "It is definitely a step in our process that we started four years ago. We want to get to a championship level like all the other teams in this league. We're no different. It is a great step for the franchise.
"I thought the guys really worked hard from Day One. This is not time to rest and relax now. We still have games to play the rest of the season and we still have playoffs. The concern now is to keep playing good basketball and keep playing as a group." It's been quite a rise for the franchise after relocating following four decades in the Pacific Northwest. General manager Sam Presti oversaw a rebuilding project that began in Seattle and extended to the first year in Oklahoma City, with the Thunder finishing just 23-59 in 2008-09.
The Thunder improved to 50-32 last season and qualified for the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Now Oklahoma City is guaranteed no worse than the fourth seed and could actually move up to third with Dallas (53-25) mired in a losing streak.
The Thunder get another glimpse at a potential first-round matchup with Denver visiting Oklahoma City on Friday.
THUNDER 112, CLIPPERS 108: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 55 points, helping offset a 35-point performance by Oklahoma City native Blake Griffin as the Thunder clinched the Northwest Division title. Kendrick Perkins added 17 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which won despite shooting 43 percent and the Clippers coming in at 51 percent.
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