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The Oklahoma City Thunder Are the Third Best Team in the West

ATLANTA - JANUARY 18:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 18, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Brad RussellContributor IFebruary 11, 2010

Somewhere, the city of Seattle is in shame.

After a terrible season to kick off a new team's career in a new city, people are just starting to whisper the P word in Oklahoma. Playoffs.

As of 2/10/10, the Oklahoma City Thunder sit nine games above .500 and are 6th in the brutal Western Conference—only the Nets are out of the Eastern Conference race.

They own the third longest win streak in the league at six. and winning in Portland is nothing to take lightly at any time. Only the the Mavs, C's, and Cavs have more road wins thus far, and OKC is tied with the Lakers and Magic at 15.

Speaking of streaks, Kevin Durantula is currently just two games behind Allen Iverson (27 games) for 2nd all time in consecutive games of 25+ points. MJ is first with two 40+ streaks. For KD to be mentioned in any way with MJ so soon means the best is yet to come.

It's clear LeBron James is the MVP of the league this year—the Cavs would be nowhere without him. While the Thunder have built a more complete team that plays defense and offense. The Thunder would struggle without Durant or Westbrook for a time, but barring a disaster this team is poised to make the playoffs.

No one is saying the Thunder will survive a seven game series with the Nuggets or Lakers and then beat the Cavs for a title. The Thunder are ready to enter the playoffs as more than just a "limp into" scenario. If OKC can secure a solid power forward or center, even an aging one for a few seasons, this team may be ready and willing to take that next step of progression into title contenders.

As for this season, teams have been warned, the Thunder are more than good.

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