Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC, Tulsa Pressing toward Basketball Playoffs

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC, Tulsa Pressing toward Basketball Playoffs

Article excerpt

Oklahoma professional basketball is gaining momentum as both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa clubs are playoff-bound.

The Oklahoma City Thunder clinched a playoff berth in the National Basketball Association. It is the franchise's first shot at the playoffs since moving from Seattle in 2008. The Tulsa 66ers, who are a direct affiliate of the Thunder, will be in the NBA Development League playoffs, which start Thursday.

The Tulsa 66ers, who will face the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the first round, are in their first-ever playoff appearance since the franchise began in 2005.

Tipoff for Game 1 of the series will be at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Tulsa Convention Center.

The 66ers and the Thunder run the same philosophies on the basketball court, including the same plays and defensive schemes, said Ryan Williams, director of public relations for the Tulsa 66ers.

"We are trying to create a synergy between the two parts of the organization and shrink the 90 miles between OKC and Tulsa," he said. "We are excited on both sides about how our hard work is continuing to pay off, and we will be continuing that effort in the playoffs."

For the second straight year, the top three seeds in the D- League selected their first-round opponent from the teams ranked five through eight, said Williams.

The 66ers finished the regular season with a franchise-high 27 wins and are the eighth seed, while the Skyforce finished 32-18 and are the fourth seed.

Tulsa finished 3-2 on the season against the Skyforce, including a 2-1 record at the Tulsa Convention Center.

For the first time, the eight qualifying D-League teams will play best-of-three series in both the quarterfinals and semifinals, leading up to the third consecutive year of a best-of-three final series. In all three rounds, the team with the lower seed will host the first game, while the team with the higher seed will host the second, and, if necessary, third and deciding game. …

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