After their 135-86 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder clinched the number one seed in the West. Emerging from a three-way tie, they won the tiebreaker over the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets, who also won their final game.

The third team in competition for the West was the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost their final game of the season to the Phoenix Suns 125-106 to put them in the number three seed in the West. OKC and the Nuggets finished at 57-25, and the Timberwolves finished at 56-28. This was the first time in NBA history that three teams were tied for first place heading into the season’s final game.

Nevertheless, the Thunder became the youngest team to earn the number one seed in either conference since seeding began in 1984. With an average age of 23.9, they made the mark, being almost two years younger than the 2004-05 Phoenix Suns team, which previously held the record.

“It’s super surreal. It’s fun,” said Thunder superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City’s oldest starter at 25. “Obviously, you play to win. It’s [more fun] like that, but I think it goes back to us chipping away at it every day and not worrying about the past or the future. Just chipping away, seeing where that gets us, and us taking that mentality has allowed us to get here. So, yeah, it feels good, something to be proud about. We have a lot more work to do.”

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The rookie center for the Thunder, Chet Holmgren, also shared his thoughts about staying locked in for the playoffs.

“I wouldn’t say celebratory so much as just kind of recognizing the fruition of all the hard work that we’ve been putting in,” Holmgren said. “We’re not in the position we’re in by accident. There was a lot of dedication and hard work that went into it. But we’re not celebrating because of what we’re trying to do; we’re not there yet. So, we’re still eyes on the prize, locked in.”

The Thunder made the jump from a 24-win lottery team to the number one seed in just two years. They will now await the play-in game-winner between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors to determine their first-round opponent.

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