The OKC Thunder appear to be a real contender and are tied with No. 1 seed West with the fifth-worst setback in NBA history

The Oklahoma City Thunder took over the No. 1 seed in the West on Thursday night with a 139-77 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. If you do the math, that’s a 62-point win, which ranks as the fifth-largest margin of victory in history N.B.A Story.

The crazy thing is that the Thunder, who posted a franchise-record 41 assists, only needed three quarters to build the 62-point lead, considered the largest lead ever before the fourth quarter of a game.

With the win, the Thunder improved to 26-11 on the season, good enough to tie Minnesota as the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed after the Wolves (also 26-11) lost in Boston on Wednesday.

On the other hand, the Blazers are now the only franchise in history to have lost two games by at least 60 points. Portland lost to the Pacers in 1998 by 65 points.

Want more history? Josh Giddey became the first player ever to record a triple-double on 100% shooting in under 25 minutes: 13 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds on 5-on-5 shooting in 23 minutes.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 31 points on 11 of 15 shooting, while Jalen Williams added 21 on 9 of 10 shooting. Meanwhile, rookie phenom Chet Holmgren dropped 19 points on 9 of 13. With Lu Dort’s 11 points on 3 of 7 shooting, the Thunder starters shot an incredible 74% from the field (37 of 50). They only played two and a half quarters.

As if that performance could be any more impressive, the Thunder did so in back-to-back games after winning in Miami on Wednesday and returning home in the middle of the night. It would have been easy to come out sluggish. Instead, the Thunder built a 15-point lead within the first six minutes.

“We overcame a few hurdles tonight,” Thunder coach Mark Dagneault said. “I thought the first thing was the start of the game and how ready we were to play and the energy we were able to generate. …

“(I thought) the other hurdle was playing with a lead,” Dagneualt added. “… We’ve had a lead in the past and we’ve done that well and we’ve done that poorly at different times. Those were the two challenges we had before and in the game tonight and I thought the guys did a great job.

Dagneault has now experienced the biggest win and biggest loss in franchise history. In December 2021, the Thunder lost by 73 points to the Memphis Grizzlies, and Dagneault said he and the team learned a lot from that experience – namely that it was a single game, “a real zero-zero thing coming out of it . “the thing,” and that goes both ways. It was a huge win, but it was still one win.

In fact, the Thunder are striving for something bigger than beating a bad Blazers team in January. This top seed thing is no coincidence.

The Thunder boast a top-five offense and defense and have the second-best net rating by a tenth of a point over the Celtics. they have three Horses in Gilgeous-Alexander, Williams and Holmgren. They are deep. Versatile. They have the highest overall shooting, 3-point shooting percentages and faithful shooting percentages in the league. They are the first team in over three decades to score at least 50% of their goals from the field in 10 consecutive games (Spurs, 1993).

Everyone likes to talk about how the Thunder are one big step away from contention – which they have all the tools in the world to do – but it looks like we can forget that they have a step to take. This team currently has every sign of being a real title contender. If they were to make a big move, it could seriously jeopardize what they have in front of them in real time. This team is together. It plays harder than its opponents and has more talent on most nights.

If that’s not a competitive combination, I don’t know what is.

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