But it will be hard to wipe away the memory of this beatdown. Hard to build faith and hope and trust if the Thunder finds itself in a Western Conference final against the Spurs.
“You can't get down … 27 points to a good basketball team and expect to come back,” Brooks said.
After a decent defensive start — Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins both were active early — the Thunder collapsed. Over a 15-minute stretch, the Spurs scored on 27 of 36 possessions.
It wasn't just old pros Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, though they were salty, Duncan with 16 points and 19 rebounds, Parker with 25 points and seven assists.
But the new-age Spurs slew the Thunder. DeJuan Blair had 22 points and 11 rebounds; Danny Green had 21 points and the game's biggest plays, baskets after twice the Thunder clawed all the way back to within two, plus a steal and dunk in the final minute with the Thunder down four.
“We started doubting ourself and doubting on what we do,” Brooks said of the first-half defensive meltdown. “We're one of the best defensive teams in the game. When teams shoot in the 50s and 60s, it surprises all of us.
“It wasn't scheme. It's always about effort with us. We did it (play hard) probably 30, 35 minutes tonight. That's not good enough.”
That's not close to good enough. Not against the Spurs.
So the Thunder has a new wish. Maybe someone else can take out San Antonio.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.