The Oklahoma City Thunder heads into Game 5 of its playoff series with the Clippers hoping history repeats itself.
Oklahoma City was also tied with the Memphis Grizzlies after four games in the first round, but then lost Game 5 in overtime, 98-95, to move within a game of elimination. But the Thunder rallied to win the final two games of that series and advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
Oklahoma City would certainly rather take a shorter route into the conference finals by beating the Clippers on Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“Things could be a lot worse but they’re not, so we’ve got to just look forward,” Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said at his team’s shootaround Tuesday morning. “We can’t get too down on a loss. We’ve got to keep moving.”
Oklahoma City is trying to collect itself after staggering in the fourth quarter of Game 4, when the Thunder lost a 16-point lead in the final nine minutes. Perkins said he had never experienced anything like that in his previous 126 playoff games.
“I think that’s part of being in the playoffs, that’s part of adding to the playoff resume, as far as experience,” Perkins said. “You go through things like this. I mean, obviously we wanted to win that game and it left a bad taste in our mouth, but at the end of the day we’ve got Game 5 on our home court tonight with a chance to go up in the series and we don’t not want to take advantage of this opportunity like we did last series.”
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the NBA’s most valuable player, who had three turnovers in the fourth quarter to help fuel the Clippers’ comeback, seemed upbeat.
“Just staying locked in and focused on the defensive end, move the basketball,” Durant said when asked about his pregame focus. “We’re trying to keep the game as simple as possible. Play hard and that will make up for a lot.
“It should be fun. It should be a good game.”