Chris Paul and the OKC Thunder are headed home after a wild and crazy Game 7 loss that came down to the wire. While their hopes of winning a Championship have been officially extinguished, they've earned a great amount of respect from the NBA community.
To start this season, nobody really gave the Thunder a chance to even make the postseason. Without Russell Westbrook and Paul George, who had just been traded, all that was left were young pieces and slight optimism for what they might be able to build in the years to come.
Instead, OKC became the surprise team of the season. Chris Paul turned back the clock, several young players blossomed into border-line All-Stars, and the team played with a certain togetherness and chemistry that had everyone talking.
All-in-all, it was an amazing run that nobody expected. And, following its epic conclusion, CP3 made an appearance before the cameras to remind the world just how special his club is...
"We fought hard all year. Obviously, a lot of people doubted us but we didn't doubt ourselves. We didn't give a damn about anybody's predictions going into any series, in any game. We expected to win and that's the way we've played all season long. Every game, we expected to win. And so, yeah... that's a tough one."
Indeed, the Thunder proved us all wrong this year by playing hard, playing well, and forcing themselves into a Game 7 against one of the West's best teams.
Nobody knows what's in store for the club moving forward. Will they run it back and hope this experience and an offseason of growth will be enough? Do they make trades to try and build up their roster?
Whatever the case, Sam Presti and the front office have a lot to think about as they gear up for the offseason, but something tells me they'll be a force for a long time...