Thunder is a fitting moniker for the Oklahoma City franchise, not only as a reference to powerful storms in the area known as Tornado Alley. The Oklahoma City-based 45th Infantry Division carries Thunderbirds as its nickname, and that's a reference to the state's Native American heritage.
Scott Brooks 2008/09-
Chesapeake Energy Arena 2008/09-
2008/09: Following Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Hornets needed a temporary home, while New Orleans recovered, Oklahoma City was chosen, as they had recently built a new arena the Ford Center. For two seasons the Hornets played a majority of their games in Oklahoma City. The year they returned full time to New Orleans, coincided with the continued arena troubles of the Seattle Supersonics, who were purchased by Oklahoma City Businessman Clay Bennett with the ultimate goal of moving the team. When Seattle did not agree to build a new arena, Bennett used it as an excuse to move the team to Oklahoma City. After a short legal battle, Bennett settled with the city of Seattle, leaving behind the old name and colors for a new team to use some day, while bringing Oklahoma City a team of their own, a team called the Thunder. The Thunder played their first game on October 29th, losing to the Milwaukee Bucks at the Ford Center 98-87. After a road loss to the Houston Rockets, the Thunder earned their first win by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 88-85. However, in the early going wins would be rare as the Thunder dropped their next ten games before Coach P.J. Carlesimo was fired on November 22nd. Under new Coach Scott Brooks the Thunder would not do much better, as their losing streak reached 14 games, before they earned their second win with a 111-103 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on the road. The Thunder would continue to struggle in December losing 13 of their next 14 games as they held a 3-29 record before beating the Golden State Warriors 107-100 on New Year's Eve. As the calendar changed the Thunder started to play better, posting a 7-7 record in January. The Thunder would go on to finish in last place in the Northwest Division with a 23-59 record. Despite the poor record, Kevin Durant finished among the league leaders in scoring at 25.3 ppg.
2009/10: In their second year in Oklahoma City the Thunder showed improvement right from the start of the season, as they started the season with two straight wins. Despite losing three of their next four games, the Thunder closed November with a winning record of 9-8. Thanks to a five game winning streak at the end of December, the Thunder continued to play winning basketball as the New Year began, holding a record of 18-14, as they surpassed their previous season's win total on January 11th. Driving the Thunder improvement was Kevin Durant who arrived among the NBA's elite players by leading the league in scoring at 30.1 ppg. At the age of 21 Durant would be the youngest player in NBA history to win the league's scoring title. Continuing their solid basketball, the Thunder would roll in February winning nine straight games, as they entered March with a 35-23 record. The Thunder would clinch a winning season on March 19th and would go on to qualify for the playoffs with a record of 50-32, as Scott Brooks was named Coach of the Year. Despite winning 50 games, the Thunder would enter the playoffs as the eighth seed and would face the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. After an 87-79 loss in the opener, the Thunder threw a scare into the Lakers in Game 2, leading at halftime and in the 4th Quarter, before a strong finish from Kobe Bryant gave the Lakers in a 95-92. In Game 3, the Ford Center was all abuzz for the first NBA Playoff game in Oklahoma City. With Kevin Durant scoring 29 points with 19 rebounds the Thunder would earn their first playoff win 101-96. Two nights later the Thunder would roll again, winning 110-89 as Russell Westbrook had a big night with 18 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. With the series even at two games apiece the Lakers regained control thanks to a return to Staples Center, winning 111-87 in Game 5, as Pau Gasol had a double-double. Looking to a force a seventh game, the Thunder again put forth a strong effort at home, leading 94-93 in the final seconds. However, Gasol tipped in a missed jump shot from Kobe Bryant with 0.5 seconds left to give the Lakers a 95-94 win to take the series in six games.
2010/11: After getting into the playoffs, and playing well against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Thunder entered their third season in Oklahoma City hoping to become a legitimate contender. After splitting their first six games, the Thunder started to show just how good they could be as they won seven of their next eight games. The Thunder would continue to play well through the end of December, as they held a 23-11 at the end of 2010, while facing one of the toughest schedules in the NBA. The Thunder would hit a tough stretch in January, as they posted a 7-6 record. At the trade deadline the Thunder pulled off one of the biggest deals in the NBA, as they sent Forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic, along with a 2012 draft pick acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Boston Celtics for Center Kendrick Perkins and PG Nate Robinson. After the deal the Thunder struggled with a three game losing streak to close February with a record of 36-22. However, in March the Thunder would roll, winning 14 of 16 games. The Thunder would go on to finish the season with a record of 55-27 winning the Northwest Division. With an 82.3% Free Throw percentage the Thunder had one of the best seasons from the stripe in NBA history. While Kevin Durant did not capture the scoring title, his 27.7 ppg led the way for OKC. In the playoffs the Thunder would face the Denver Nuggets in the first round. It would be the Kevin Durant show in the opener, as the Thunder All-Star scored 41 points, while Russell Westbrook added 31 in a 107-103 win. After the Thunder scored an easy 106-89 win in Game 2, the series shifted to Denver where Serge Ibaka became the Thunder's big man on the board with 22 points 16 rebounds to lead the way in a 97-94. After the Nuggets blocked the sweep with a 104-101 win in Game 4, the Thunder again got a 41 point game from Kevin Durant as the Thunder knocked off the Nuggets in five games, winning 100-97 in Game 5. Also have a big game in the clincher was Serge Ibaka who had nine blocked shots, falling one short of the NBA postseason record. In the second round, the Thunder faced the Memphis Grizzlies, who were coming off a stunning upset of the San Antonio Spurs. In Game 1, the Thunder would suffer a 114-101 loss, as the Thunder had trouble dealing with the Grizzlies size. The Thunder would bounce back with a 111-102 win in Game 2, as Kevin Durant and James Harden both had big games. As the series shifted to Memphis, the Thunder saw a 16 point lead evaporate as the Grizzlies won in overtime 101-93. The series continued to see saw back in forth in Game 4, as the Thunder won a triple overtime thriller 133-123, as Russell Westbrook scored 40, while Kevin Durant scored 35 in a game that would become an instant classic. As the series returned to OKC, the Thunder took advantage of the worn out Grizzlies, and seized control of the series with a 99-72 win in Game 5. The Grizzlies would come back to win Game 6 in Memphis 95-83. It would come down to a seventh game at the Ford Center, where the Thunder got 39 point and nine boards from Durant to win 105-90 to reach the Western Conference Finals. In the Conference Finals the Thunder faced the Dallas Mavericks, who were coming off a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers. After a 121-112 loss in Game 1, the Thunder cooled off the Mavs, with a 106-100 win in Game 2. However, as the series shifted to OKC, the Thunder would have a letdown in Game 3, losing 93-87. Game 4 would be a must win for the Thunder, and it would go to overtime as the Thunder lost a 15 point fourth quarter lead. The Thunder would score just four points in OT as the Mavericks won 112-105, to take a 3-1 series lead. Despite a solid 31 point night from Russell Westbrook, the Mavericks would the Thunder's season in five games as they took a 100-96 win in Game 5, on the way to a NBA Championship.
2011/12: Through the first three seasons, the Oklahoma City made giant strides each season, culminating with a trip to the Western Conference Finals. As they reached their fourth season the Thunder looked to take another giant leap forward into the NBA Finals. With a lockout delaying the start of the season, the Thunder fans had to wait two extra months to see where they would go next. The season would start on Christmas Day, as the Thunder roared past the Orlando Magic, with Kevin Durant scoring 30 points. The Thunder would win their first five games, including a dramatic 104-102 win over the reigning NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. Despite losing their first two games in 2012, the Thunder continued their dominance in January as they won 11 of 15 games, and established themselves as the team to beat in the West. The Thunder were especially dominant at home, as they rowdy crowds have Chesapeake Energy Arena an almost colligate feel. The Thunder would win 18 of their first 19 games in OKC, as they continued to reign in the West. However, as the season came to a close the Thunder went into cruise control, posting an 8-7 record in April as they saved their energy for the playoffs, after the condensed regular season. Despite the mediocre final month, the Thunder still had the second best record in the Western Conference at 47-19 as they won the Northwest Division for the second straight season. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant continued to be one of the best players in the NBA, as he captured his third straight scoring title, while averaging 28.0 ppg, as Russell Westbrook joined Durant to form one of the best 1-2 punches in the NBA, averaging 23.1 ppg, Additionally the Thunder got a big season from James Harden who averaged 16.8 ppg off the bench and was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year. The Thunder were also solid defensively as Serge Ibaka was named to the NBA's All Defensive Team.
2012 Playoffs: In the playoffs the Thunder would face the Dallas Mavericks who a year earlier beat them in the Western Conference Finals on the way to a NBA Championship. Right away the Thunder learned the playoff would not be easy as they the Mavericks gave them all they could handle in Game 1. However, Kevin Durant saved the day giving the Thunder a 99-98 win, with a one handed jumper in the final seconds. Game 2 would be just as tough, but the Thunder came through again at the end, winning 102-99. As the series shifted to Dallas, the Thunder finally found some breathing room, as they too a 3-0 series lead, behind a 95-79 win. The Thunder would go on to sweep the series with a 103-97 win, as they outscored the Mavericks 35-16 in the fourth quarter. The Thunder won with a sweep, but it was not easy as they advanced to face the Los Angels Lakers. Adding to the drama of the series against the Lakers was Metta World Peace who had just served a seven game suspension for a vicious foul against James Harden in the penultimate game of the regular season. The Thunder took their revenge out on the court as they clobbered the Lakers 119-90 in the series opener. Game 2 would be much closer, as both teams struggled to fund their offense. Down by seven points with two minutes left, the Thunder finished the game on a 9-0 run to win the game 77-75 to take a 2-0 series lead as Kevin Durant was money down the stretch. The Lakers would finally break through in Game 3 as the series shifted to Los Angeles, winning 99-96. The Lakers looked poised to even the series as they held a 13 point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4. However, the Thunder roared again, closing the game on a 25-9 run, as Kevin Durant intercepted a pass from Pau Gasol and hit a clutch three pointer to give the Thunder a 103-100 victory to take a 3-1 series lead. The Thunder would go on to finish the series with a 108-90 win in Game 5 to return to the Western Conference Finals. In the Conference Finals the Thunder would face the San Antonio Spurs, who had swept through the first two rounds after winning their last ten games to grab home court away from the Thunder in the regular season. Much like their strong regular season finish, the Spurs closed Game 1 on a big run, outscoring the Thunder 39-27 in the fourth quarter to win the opener 101-98. The Thunder would also capture Game 2, 120-111. Facing a must win back in OKC the Thunder got a big team effort to win 102-82 in Game 3. The Thunder would even the series with a 109-103 win, as Kevin Durant scored 18 of his game high 36 points in the fourth quarter. In Game 5, the Thunder would grab a 13 point lead on a four point play from James Harden. However, the Spurs would make an 11-0 run to get with a basket with under a minute left. Harden would answer with a backbreaking three point shot as the Thunder took control of the series, with a 108-103 victory. Trailing by 15 points at halftime, the Thunder rallied to close the series in six games with a 107-99 victory.
2012 NBA Finals: The Oklahoma City Thunder would face the Miami Heat as the two top players in the NBA Kevin Durant and LeBron James both sought their first championship ring. The opener would see the Thunder 1-2 punch of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook draw first blood, as Durant had a game high 36 points while Westbrook scored 27 to lead OKC to a 105-94 victory. The Heat would rebound to even the series with a 91-85 win, handing the Thunder their first home loss during the playoffs. As the series shifted to Miami, the Thunder looked to be running out of steam, as James Harden their sparkplug off the bench had a terrible series, with the Heat winning 91-85 in Game 3. The Thunder never were able to regain their momentum, as the Heat won Game 4 and Game 5 to win the series in five games.
First Game Played October 29, 2008
100 West Reno
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Phone: (405) 208-4667
P. J. Carlesimo 2008/09
Scott Brooks 2008/09-Present
Chesapeake Energy Arena* 08/09-P
*-Known as Ford Center 2008-2011
NBA Finals: (1)
Conference Finals: (2)
Division Champions: (3)
2011, 2012, 2013
Playoff Appeaerences: (4)
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Hall of Famers:
All-Star Games Hosted:
All-Star Game MVP: (1)
2012 Kevin Durant F
Coach of the Year: (1)
2010 Scott Brooks
Most Improved Player:
Rookie of the Year:
6th Man: (1)
2012 James Harden G
Deffensive Player of the Year:
NBA Finals MVP:
On the Air:
Fox Sports Oklahoma
WWLS (98.1 FM): WWLS (640 AM)
Brian Davis and Grant Long-TV; Matt Pinto-Radio
Seattle Supersonics 1967/68-2007/08
Oklahoma City Thunder
©MMXII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page.
Page created on November 27, 2008. Last updated on November 17, 2012 at 12:20 am ET.
Back to NBA Main
Western Conference Index
Retired Numbers: (6)
1 Gus Williams G 1977-80, 1981-84
10 Nate McMillan G 1986/87-1997/98
19 Lenny Wilkens G 1968/69-1971/72
24 Spencer Haywood F 1970-1975
32 Fred Brown G 1971/72-1983/84
43 Jack Sikma C 1977/78-1985/86
Visit our Sponsors
Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties