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Thunder makes move up Western Conference standings

PORTLAND – If the season ended Sunday night, the Thunder would be in the playoffs.

Of course, OKC’s first 22 games aren’t necessarily predictive of what’s to come in the final ¾ of the season. The Thunder (10-12) is expected to shake up its roster again before the trade deadline in February. OKC will make roster moves with the Thunder’s long-term success in mind as it progresses toward a rebuild, which means the team will likely get worse before it gets better.

That doesn’t take away the fact that early in the season, OKC is outperforming expectations. With a 108-96 win over the Trail Blazers, the Thunder claimed its fourth victory in five games. After losing its first six road games of the season, OKC won three of its next four.

“That’s what’s fun about our team, is it’s a team effort every night,” Thunder veteran Chris Paul said Sunday. “And as long as we keep playing like that, we’re going to keep thriving.”

On Sunday night, the Thunder jumped the playoff line and landed at No. 7 in the Western Conference. OKC owns the three-way tiebreaker between it, the Suns (10-12) and the Timberwolves (10-12).

Related Photos
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul directs his teammates during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul directs his teammates during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-cb4183674efaa0f209f6fa016691c8d1.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul directs his teammates during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul directs his teammates during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul directs his teammates during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)</figcaption></figure>
Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›

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