The Thunder entered Wednesday night's game at Chesapeake Energy Arena with a 17-4 record, an eight-game winning streak and having scored 100-plus points in 12 straight contests.
OKC coach Scott Brooks and his players barely acknowledged any of this and certainly weren't keen on chatting about it beforehand.
The Thunder promptly exited its locker room and played its worst game of the season. Fortunately for OKC, it was playing the worst team in the Western Conference.
The only streak that ended was the century mark run as the Thunder scratched and clawed for a 92-88 victory against the 5-16 New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans, who were fresh off a home loss to the 2-15 Washington Wizards the night before.
The Thunder is now 18-4 and has won nine straight. Both marks tie a franchise high in OKC.
As for how those streaks managed to stay alive, well, that's tough to explain.
OKC scored just 36 points the entire first half against the determined Hornets, yet poured in 34 points in the final 11:06 to survive in front of relieved sellout crowd of 18,203.
Simply put, New Orleans came out with the right mentality from the outset, while the Thunder mysteriously waited until the second half.
Brooks and his players were thankful for the victory and acknowledged their shortcomings, and insisted all those streaks were not on their minds.
“I don't think it's a big deal either way, it's just not really on our radar,” said Thunder forward Nick Collison, who had six points and five rebounds. “We've had winning streaks here before, but I think going deep into the playoffs the past couple of years has shown it matters a lot more how you're playing at the end of the season, so that's why I don't think we're talking about it.”
The Thunder knows where it stands and is not ignoring its achievement to date, but celebrating various achievements throughout the season is simply not done — at least not by this group.
“We definitely think about it,” Brooks admitted. “We don't go through the season not enjoying the work we're putting in and the success we're having, but we're not resting on it. There's a big difference.
“We've talked about it. I congratulate the guys on their effort and their commitment to getting better and their execution. But you also have to still grind, keep pushing forward, keep fighting and clawing because that's who we are. That's how we win.”
Players do not consider discussing active winning streaks as some form of taboo. However, asking Russell Westbrook about being the NBA's active leader with 312 consecutive games played most certainly is.
“It's not wrong (to talk about a winning streak), but our focus is set on getting better every game, getting better as a team,” Sefolosha said. “I think it (being 18-4 and on a nine-game winning streak) is great. It shows progress. It shows that we're improving, that we're going in the right direction. We're playing good, be all realize individually what we can all do better.”
Reserve guard Eric Maynor was quick to point out the date was 12/12/12.
“We're winning and that's good, but at the same time we have to know what we're looking forward to doing,” Maynor said. “We're not winning no championship in December. We tell each other we're playing good right now and coach acknowledges that, but he keeps telling us we can play so much better.”