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Thunder want to remind you that you counted them out before

Jun 20, 2012, 5:40 PM EDT

Thabo Sefolosha, Reggie Jackson, Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins AP

MIAMI — Just a couple weeks ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder were down 2-0 to a San Antonio Spurs team that had won 20 games in a row and looked pretty dominant doing it. Everyone was starting to picture how the Spurs matched up with the East.

Four games later, the Thunder were in the NBA finals for the first time since moving to Oklahoma City.

“Our guys know, it’s fresh in our minds,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of that comeback. “It was just last series that we were down 0-2. I mean, we’re definitely down. Our back is against the wall, but it’s not over. We still have some fight in us. We’re just going to have to play tomorrow night with the urgency that you have to play with, that we’ve done.”

They have been close — Miami is up 3-1 in the NBA finals but all of the Heat’s victories have been by single digits. The total points scored through four games has the Heat up just +5. The Thunder have had their chances in every game, but Miami has executed better late. Miami has gotten contributions from guys like Mario Chalmers (25 points in Game 4) and Shane Battier.

The Thunder were a dejected team in the wake of Game 4, but by Wednesday afternoon they just sounded more frustrated at their blown chances. They know they don’t need much to get a win.

Just something like the real James Harden to show up. He had better in Game 5 and if he does the Thunder might well force a Game 6.

But don’t expect Brooks to change things up.

“I don’t think the game comes down to who plays and who doesn’t play. It’s how we play,” Brooks said. “I think the last couple of games they made a few plays that we did not make, and it always comes down to that.”

To a man the Thunder thought that if they can win Game 5 and get this series back to Oklahoma City, they stand a real chance.

What’s that going to take? Westbrook said toughness.

“We’ve just got to pay attention to the details,” Kevin Durant said. “We’ve got to do the smart things. We’ll be fine.”

  1. lyndseymarieee - Jun 20, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Good to know they have the optimism of a young team. Hopefully they can back it up with some good basketball. They need to play like they did against the Spurs. If they had, THEY would be up 3-1 right now.

    Miami just looks like they want it more though.

    • gmen4life33 - Jun 20, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      Dont know about that. Westbrook looked like he wanted it plenty the way he attacked the rim. If it wasnt for the “quick” jump-ball call (with.8 left on MIA shotclock and Haslem on floor) they would of had a chance to tie. Since PBT wont talk about Westbrook, or the fact that he didnt get ANY calls last game, here is Bill Simmons:

      “Westbrook responded with one of the most electric efforts in recent Finals history, sinking 20 of 32 shots, attacking the rim over and over again, and doing everything short of waving both middle fingers at his critics after every made basket. At some point during the next 50 years, I hope somebody explains why Westbrook only attempted three (?!?!?!?!?) free throws last night, or why so many 50/50 calls swung against Oklahoma City these last three games.”

      • mavajo - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:34 PM

        Bill Simmons is virtually a self-proclaimed Heat hater. I hardly trust his perspective here.

        Signed,
        Not a Heat fan

      • finsfan71 - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:44 PM

        I know that when I’m constipated I read Bill Simmons. Blaming the refs is a clear indicator of a simplistic mind.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM

        I’m a huge Simmons fan. But please remember that after their first two regular season games together (after Wade was out during pre-season no less), he declared the pairing of LeBron and D-Wade a failure. One of the games was the season opener in Boston when the Heat lost by 8 but were down by only 3 with under a minute left. Th enext was a 20pt win v Minnesota.

      • brutl - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:48 PM

        Yeah well you usually don’t get a lot of calls on pull-up jumpers

      • eddiecrash1976 - Jun 21, 2012 at 12:31 AM

        Your right it was too quick to call jump ball, Haslem clearly had control of the ball and there was noway old ass Fisher was going to take it away. Damn we finally agree on something.

      • finalword33 - Jun 21, 2012 at 10:32 AM

        That’s one of the least meaningful commentaries I’ve heard. Might as well have come from mrwright.

      • gmen4life33 - Jun 21, 2012 at 10:41 AM

        So let me get this straight. When MIA shots much more FTs then their opponent, and fans complain, MIA fans say “we were attacking the rim, thats why”.

        Then Westbrook attacks the rim non-stop (and the commentators keep saying “oh, lot of contact there but no call” everytime he does) and he only gets 3 FTs the whole game, but thats normal.

        Common guys. You KNOW if that was LBJ going ham attacking the rim he would have 10+ FTs atleast. There was slight contact on so many of Westbrook drives, and yes he made some of the shots regardless, but he didnt get any calls from the Refs. Just like he didnt get the call in Game 3 on the putback to tie when he got smacked. LBJ/Wade and even Durant get those calls.

        All I am saying is NBA need to drop the “superstar treatment” and “home team gets calls” b.s because last time I looked thats not in the rule books

    • truthhurtstoo - Jun 21, 2012 at 7:05 AM

      Spurs doesn’t have Miami’s defense. Thunder hasn’t lost 3 in a row… oops, make that 4 in a row. HEAT win tonight

  2. kwf1224 - Jun 20, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Well I think that the Thunder’s Season is over.

  3. pmd5319 - Jun 20, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    I’m pulling for Miami (I guess you have to say which side you lean towards or everyone just says you’re a crazy OKC fan or you’re just a LeBron lover). But, Game 5 is the closest thing to a must win, that’s not actually a must win. I don’t think the Thunder will win 3 in a row, but if I was an Thunder player/fan, all I would want is to get it back to OKC for Game 6. If it goes back to OKC, I’d say it’s a 50/50 series again.

  4. mrgoodbar216 - Jun 20, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Thats all good talk but the fact here remains that they are down 3-1 and they have to do something that no other team in the history of the sport has done. How many years has this leauge been around? A real long time. Why has it never been done? Cause its extremely hard to win 3 straight games in the playoffs. Oh yeah this also isnt a beat down old san antonio team. Come thursday the back stabbing weasle will be a nba champion.

    • pmd5319 - Jun 20, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      You know what’s harder than winning 3 straight playoff games? Winning 4 straight. So while I agree that OKC’s chances aren’t good, that also means (using your winning multiple games in a row is tough theory), Miami’s chances of winning Thursday aren’t great. Can’t have it both ways. And the fact that it hasn’t happened, while relevant, just means it’s due to happen sometime. As someone pulling for the Heat, I hope it doesn’t. But just saying that no one has come back from 3-1, doesn’t mean they should end the series today.

      • flexingbastard - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:06 PM

        winning four straight happens all the time it is called a sweep

      • lyndseymarieee - Jun 21, 2012 at 7:50 PM

        Winning 4 in a row being down 0-2 doesn’t happen often at all, actually.

  5. kinggw - Jun 20, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    The Thunder beat the Spurs after being down 0-2. So what. How does that have any relevance to this series?

    First of all there wasnt a championship on the line. Secondly, the next game isnt in OKC. Lastly, the Thunder are no longer playing the Spurs. Not only is Miami younger than the Spurs, they are defensively superior as well. Couple that with the fact that Miami matches OKC’s athleticism and I just dont see how they are going to win three straight. Its great they overcame some adversity in San Antonio, but this team isnt good enough to turn on a switch and take their game to the next level. The Thunder have already given the Heat their best shot. Its time for people to accept that Heat may be the better team.

    • wesermandc - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:11 PM

      wait, their wasnt a championship on the line, i beg to differ considering it was the playoffs, win or go hom either way you look at it. And they havent given the heat there best ahot thats nonsense.

    • finalword33 - Jun 21, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      Definitely. It was surprising to all that the Spurs were up on OKC, but it’s not surprising that Miami is. OKC had a slight edge due to have home court advantage, but that was gone game 2.

  6. blakspartan - Jun 20, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    When Westbrook is the leading scorer normally Oklahoma loses, his 43 point performance was purely based off selfishness barely looked at Durant to get him going

    • patfic15 - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:15 PM

      I have to agree with you. His scoring doesn’t mean as much as Hardens.

    • k3nn3k - Jun 20, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      Agreed. Westbrook needs a good game along with Durant to even make it close. Harden and one other role player (Ibaka, Sefelosha, etc) makes the difference in the game. If Harden and/or another role player don’t produce then the chances are slim that OKC wins the game against the Heat.

      • wjmoffatt - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:40 PM

        Are y’all insane? They were 25-5 when his a scorer………

    • slopmcflop - Jun 21, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Not this crap again. Pile on Westbrook for no good reason.

      Look, Durant is a fantastic scorer. This is known. But he tends to play within the flow of the game. He does not try to control his own scoring in a Kobe type manner. He lets his shots come to him, instead of forcing them up. He will not shoot 30 times a game. He has also been manhandled by Battier and Lebron this entire series. His normal game is to come off screens, catch and shoot. Batter and Lebron have both done a fantastic job of frustrating Durant to where he can’t play his normal game.

      That’s where Westbrook comes in. He has to be the offense when Durant is struggling. He has to be the guy to try to make things happen, because OKC does not run offensive sets that well. The entire Thunder offense blew in game 4, except for one man. It was Westbrook who attacked the Heat defense while others stood around. It was Westbrook crashing hard into the lane, then kicking it out to shooters on the outside, where they mostly missed open looks. The only reason game 4 was even close was because of the tremendous effort put forth by Westbrook.

      People who go to the old “Westbrook is selfish” mantra obviously do not watch any Thunder games during the regular season. They just see him shoot 20-25 times in the playoffs and assume he’s a hog. But if you know anything about this Thunder team, you would know that anything less would throw this team’s offense off. Just like they need Harden running things with the second team, they need Westbrook being aggresive and attacking. That is the way this team is built. To say otherwise is to showcase your lack of understanding of this team.

  7. finsfan71 - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    And I would like to remind the Thunder that NBA games are determined by the number of fouls called. They should really consult their fan base and Lebron haters. Because apparently only Heat fans and the Thunder aren’t aware of this.

    Can somebody help me out with the parade route.

  8. lakerluver - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    OKC is playing like what they are…a bunch of 22-23 yr old kids who are wilting under the pressure of the moment. It’s a shame because they are the better TEAM in this series.

    • finsfan71 - Jun 20, 2012 at 9:17 PM

      You obviously have no concept of teamwork. The Miami bench has shined in this series.

    • finalword33 - Jun 21, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      They expected to win, and well, they’re not winning, and they know how tough it’s going to be to beat Miami now. At least they’re keeping their mouths shut since game 4, so they don’t inspire the Heat to even greater levels.

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 20, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    Nobody in Miami is counting them out. Going to take a monster effort to beat OKC tomorrow night. Going to be the toughest one yet. The Heat know this. They’re prepared for this. They want this. All In. One Game. One Half. One Quarter. One Possession.

    ONE

  10. wjmoffatt - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Going into this 3 game stretch in Miami all the Thunder had to do was win 1 of them, and they still have that chance to do it. For the historical purposes of no one ever doing it before, I say to you this, history is made to be broken, and it’s not like Lebron has proven that he has the ability to close it completely out! No one would wants to play OKC at OKC, cause they are almost unbeatable, almost. So until it’s over then don’t count them out just yet.

  11. wjmoffatt - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Keys to the game for the Thunder are:
    1.) Keep Westbrook in attack mode
    2.) Have KD become a driver
    3.) Perkins give hard fouls to Wade and Lebron when they enter the paint.
    4.) Have Harden be a facilitator and worry about rebounding and defense, only shoot open mid range game.
    5.) Fisher’s minutes limited
    6.) Ibaka role to the basket on the picks when Shane is on him.

    • soflasfinest - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:40 PM

      Should they play to win poweball too? That’s asking a looooot. They know they can’t create a wish list and expect everything to come true.

      • wjmoffatt - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:44 PM

        It’s not really a wish list, I mean if you look at the list they did a majority of it last game. Westbrook was an attacker, Harden was worrying more about D and rebounding just needs to change his shot selection, David West played the same way as Ibaka through 5 games and finally learned to just set the high pick and go straight to the rim on Shane, Brooks can take Fish out if playing bad, and Perkins needs to become more of a man a tough guy to say.

      • truthhurtstoo - Jun 21, 2012 at 7:09 AM

        Thunder is not a power ball group. Jump shots and weakness is their game.

      • soflasfinest - Jun 21, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        @truth I meant powerball as in the lottery not as in style of play

  12. lucidsportsfan - Jun 21, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    By my calculations the Thunder still have roughly a 13% chance to win it all. http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2012_06_17_archive.html#9201348136661254979

  13. turnmymicup - Jun 21, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    The problem is they think its just some small adjustment OKC has to make to beat the Heat. Just because these games haven’t been blowouts doesn’t mean the Heat haven’t been the more dominant team. Its not all about points when will some people understand that. Miami is passing the ball better, rebounding better, executing their plays, and the biggest of them all defending better. It isn’t luck and it sure isn’t the Refs helping them win. I’m not buying into this OKC trying to look like the underdog crap. When this series started many thought the high powered OKC offense was going to run through Miami. Not this time sorry boys. Coach Spoelstra has his team focused and in attack mode. Don’t expect the Heat to take the foot of the gas pedal in game 5. Nothing personal strictly business. LETS GO HEAT!

  14. trimaster1 - Jun 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    It won’t be an easy game. There’s still a sense of urgency for the Heat. I don’t think they want to go back to OKC, giving them ANY type of hope. OKC could win, but they have 2 problems:

    1. Guarding Lebron. Whoever gurds him usually gets in foul trouble OR has a lower than normal offensive night. (Harden has a bruised hand. If he guards Lebron that puts him at another disadvantage.)

    2. OKC’s bigs don’t get enough points in the paint. It’s primarily 3 guys for OKC who score, and if 1 of them is off, they’re in for a long night.

    That last loss had to hurt OKC. We’ll see if they bounce back. But if Miami doesn’t have a let down they should win. They MUST play strong. This will NOT be a cakewalk.

  15. miamatt - Jun 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Unless OKC gets after it the way Miami has, it’s over.

    In the last few minutes of game 4, Durant stood there after an OKC miss, in position to get an offensive board, until Wade flew in front of him, grabbed the ball, then threw it to a teammate before landing out of bounds.

    Championship level heart from somebody who knows the difference between these two teams is a handful of plays each game.

    Not saying OKC isn’t playing hard, but neither their stars nor their role players are doing the dirty work that winning a championship requires.

  16. scalfor3 - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    if the thunder win this one (not unlikely, they’ve been close in every game and are due for some breaks) it goes back to okc. they win one in okc and it goes to a game 7. 50-50 up for grabs for both teams. obviously the odds favor miami, but this isn’t over

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