NBA Western Power Rankings Week 8: Clippers hang onto 4th

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December 21, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with forward Serge Ibaka (9) and guard Anthony Morrow (2) the 100-99 victory against Los Angeles Clippers following the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

3rd: Oklahoma City Thunder (39 points)

By Jose Salviati

Record: 20-9

Last 10 games: 9-1

When a player returns from a serious injury it can take time for them to return to the form they enjoyed prior to being hurt. It’s often times less about the physical healing as it is about the mental healing. If a player got hurt driving to the hoop the next time the opportunity comes he may hesitate. It’s subtle, but decisions like that change who the player was. For Kevin Durant, it looks like he is back 100 percent from his foot issue both physically and mentally.

Durant and Russell Westbrook are back and make up the oddest NBA couple. Westbrook dominates the ball and somehow Durant, an alpha dog on any other team, appears to be fine with that arrangement. I guess it’s because everyone knows that when the game is on the line the ball comes to him. Durant is exactly the type of player the Clippers are most in need of — someone who wants to take the big shot and more than likely to make it.

The Thunder have gone 5-1 since last Sunday (December 13); their lone loss to the Cavaliers in Cleveland. They remain firmly among the elite in the Western Conference.

Next: San Antonio Spurs