The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Toronto Raptors, a big win at a critical stage of the season while the Thunder await the return of MVP Kevin Durant. Behind the "so otherworldly it is now the new normal" Russell Westbrook and another triple-double, along with exceptional use of the Thunder's trio of big men Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, and the returning Steven Adams, OKC survived some bad free throw shooting with good offense and remained a game in front of the 9th seeded Pelicans, who like the Thunder, split their last pair of games (although in a surprising twist, they lost to the sub-.500 Celtics (huzzah!) but then defeated the Grizzlies (guhhh).
Meanwhile, the Spurs, who have been in 7th place for much of the season, appear to be making their move while the Dallas Mavericks continue to falter. OKC is now only 4 games behind Dallas in the loss column, and in a week head to Big D to potentially catch up even further. The Clippers are holding strong despite playing without Blake Griffin, but they have lost two in a row and there is a formula for defeating them - protect the paint and rebound well, and L.A. will struggle on offense.
The Thunder play the Clippers Wednesday night. Opportunity knocks.