Tuesday night’s matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers pitted the two teams with the best records, giving us a head-to-head look at how the teams stack up with each other. Sure, the Clippers were without star point guard Chris Paul, but one thing was apparent after watching the Thunder dismantle the Clippers; they are the currently best team in the league. Period.
Some would argue that the Miami Heat hold that distinction since they defeated the Thunder for the NBA title last year. I say that’s hogwash. The Heat have played with what appears to be a sense of entitlement, similar to how they did in 2010-2011 that led to their loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals, while the Thunder look just as hungry as they did last season, if not more so.
MVP candidate Kevin Durant is playing like a man on a mission (29.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game). Russell Westbrook is still a bit of a loose cannon, but also a threat to go for 30 and 10 assists any night. Serge Ibaka has quickly adjusted to his role as the scoring third option and is averaging 14.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and close to three blocks. Kevin Martin may not be as explosive as James Harden, but he knows his role as sixth man and spot up shooter and fills it very well.
The Thunder currently lead the NBA in offense at 113.1 points per 100 possessions while also ranking eighth overall and allowing only 103.4 points per 100 possessions. They are 8-2 over their last 10 games lead the NBA in point differential (+8.2). We could go on and on, but I think I’ve proved my point.
The Thunder are younger, faster and more athletic than the San Antonio Spurs, more playoff-tested than the Clippers and actually rated as a better offensive and defensive team than the Heat. These are all qualities of a first-rate team, and right now the Thunder are currently the cream of the NBA crop.