The Oklahoma City Thunder's road to retribution is finally about to begin as they enter the postseason atop the Western Conference.
After the past few seasons of encouraging improvement and solid seasons, the Thunder have shed themselves of the underdog role, having now fully blossomed into a legitimate contender.
Just making it to the Finals was a big step for OKC last season, but this season the ultimate goal is nothing short of winning Oklahoma City's first NBA championship.
In order to get back to that point, the Thunder will have to endure the grueling stretch of the NBA playoffs. It's important for them to regard every series opponent as a credible challenge and threat in order to dispel any chance of an early exit from the postseason.
Oklahoma City's first challenger will be the Houston Rockets, a team lead by former Thunder sixth man James Harden. Just last summer, Harden was a heavy contributor to the Thunder's run to the Finals, but one blockbuster trade later, and he's a breakout superstar for a Rockets team full of potential.
Each and every playoff game holds great importance and must be treated as such. As great as the Thunder's confidence may be against a team like the Rockets, whatever happened in the regular season is in the past, and these next four-plus games are a clean slate.