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OKC earns top seed for playoffs

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Blue coach Mark Daigneault spent four years an assistant to Thunder coach Billy Donovan at the University of Florida.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City has rolled into the NBA playoffs and has secured the No. 1 seed. No, not the Thunder but the Blue, the Thunder’s Development League team.

The Blue won the D-League’s Southwest Division with a 34-16 record a remarkable turnaround from 19-31 a year ago. The Blue will meet Santa Cruz tonight (9:30 ESPNU) in the first round in California. Santa Cruz is the D-League team of the Golden State Warriors and uses the same nickname. Santa Cruz placed second in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

Although having an identical record with the Los Angeles D-Fenders (winners of the Pacific Division), the Blue earned the conference’s top seed with a better point differential over the L.A. team. The D-Fenders beat OKC in the first two games by a combined 11 points but the Blue won the next two contests by a combined 26 points.

“I’m happy for our players and our staff for clinching the one seed,” Head Coach Mark Daigneault said. “It is a great accomplishment for our program, and we are excited to get started with our playoff preparation.”

OKC swept the Warriors in four meetings this season by a combined 52 points. The playoffs are set up this way—OKC will play the first game of the Best of 3 series on the road and will host the Warriors at 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Monday at the Cox Convention Center. The Monday game is necessary if neither team sweeps the first two contests. Games 2 and 3 are broadcast on News9 Plus (channel 52) or Facebook Live.

Center Dakari Johnson leads OKC in scoring with 18.5 points per game. The 7-footer was a D- League All-Star this year and was on the league’s All-Rookie team a year ago. Johnson also leads the team with 55.6 percent shooting from the field.

Forward Reggie Williams (6-6) is the team’s second-leading scorer with 18.3 ppg and also was selected to the 2017 All-Star team.

Forward Daniel Hamilton (6-7) leads the Blue with an average of 8.1 rebounds per game. Guard Alex Caruso (6-5) lead the current team members with 5.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

Forward Josh Huestis leads OKC with 1.7 blocks per game.

The Blue rank 17th in the 22-team league with 106.3 points per game and are seventh by connecting 46.3 percent of their field goals.

The Blue have won two straight games and four of the last five.

Tickets for Games 2 and 3 go on sale on Tuesday, April 4 at 10 a.m. via or by calling 405-208- HOOP (4667).

If the Blue win the opening round, they will meet the winner of the L.A. and Rio Grand Valley matchup for the Western Conference championship.

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Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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