NBA Power Rankings: Buying the Mavs in the West; Clippers finally turning corner?

Are the Dallas Mavericks for real and have the LA Clippers finally turned the corner?

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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8. Oklahoma City Thunder

Still one of the bigger surprises in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder continues to stack together wins. Interestingly enough, the Thunder have been a bit more inconsistent over the last few weeks of the season. And it's certainly something to keep an eye on to see how they recover and handle this rough stretch that they're facing at the moment. In their last eight games, OKC is only 4-4.

This will be a good test for such a young team. If the Thunder is able to shake this off and get on another winning streak, it will tell us so much about the heart, build, and mental toughness of this team. Perhaps most importantly, it will tell us if OKC is genuinely ready to take the next step as a franchise.

The Thunder are talented and may finally have the right formula to make some noise in the Western Conference during the second half of the season. This may finally be the year where they make a return to the playoffs.