Thunder Gears Up for Regular-Season Finale

No question, there is a buzz around Oklahoma City as the Thunder gets set for the 2011 NBA Playoffs, but there is still one piece of business left in the regular season.

The Milwaukee Bucks, with former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson on the staff, are in town to finish out the regular season.

“Going into the game we’re definitely not taking it easy,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “We want to make sure we have a good flow, a good rhythm to our team. We want to keep playing good basketball. I believe in our guys; I expect them to play well and I expect us to play well as a team.”

Though the Thunder is assured of at least the fourth seed in the Western Conference, there is still a chance it can finish one spot higher, if Oklahoma City beats Milwaukee and Dallas loses at home to New Orleans. None of that is lost on Thunder two-time All-Star Kevin Durant.

“The West is so deep it goes down to the last game of the season to really paint that playoff picture, that tells a lot about how good the West is and how good the league is,” he said.

The Bucks will be without star center Andrew Bogut, but they will still bring a tough defense. Being a team with nothing to lose, Brooks said he expects the bucks to bring a top-notch effort.

“I’m not going into the game thinking this is a night off,” he said. “It’s one of 82 games we play; the normal starters are going to start. I see our guys playing good minutes and going into the playoffs with a good feeling.”

There’ a good feeling about the Thunder team right now, not only here but around the nation. According to just released statistics from the NBA office, sales of Thunder jerseys are up to number six in the league and Kevin Durant’s jersey is up to seven.

“It’s a humbling feeling, a blessing to have people want to wear your jersey," Durant said. "It’s something you can’t take for granted and I love it that people are starting to recognize our team.”

Oklahoma City has also been playing well lately, 19-4 since the beginning of March. The Thunder has had five winning streaks this season of five games or more and three of those streaks have come in the last month.

“The trades have helped that along and our guys have just done a good job of getting it all together,” Brooks told reporters, “integrating the new guys and the new guys have just done a great job of learning on the fly. It’s really not as easy as they made it look. And we’re just improving as a team. We should get better and we have gotten better.”

Milwaukee is ending the season on a bit of a roll, too. The Bucks have won three of their last four, including a win in Miami, after being eliminated from playoff contention.

“Milwaukee’s always been a defensive team and that always gives you a chance,” Brooks noted. “Even with Bogut out they have some talented players. We’re going to have to play well.”

Tip-off tonight is set for 7 inside the Oklahoma City Arena. You can watch all the action on Fox Spots Oklahoma or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.