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Jenni Carlson: Oklahoma City and the Thunder have come a long way

by Jenni Carlson Modified: April 20, 2011 at 9:53 pm •  Published: April 20, 2011

Three years ago this Monday, the NBA agreed to relocate one of its teams to Oklahoma City.

Sixteen years ago this Tuesday, a bomb ripped through the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

It seemed fitting that Wednesday, this city and its team celebrated its biggest win on its grandest stage.

Thunder 106, Nuggets 89.

More important is another tally.

Thunder 2, Nuggets 0.

That's the mark in this best-of-7 series, and if history is any indication, the Nuggets are all but cooked. Throughout NBA history, less than 10 percent of the teams that have fallen into that two-game hole to start a series have come back to win.

The Thunder has all but punched its ticket to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

My, how far Oklahoma City has come.

When the bombing happened, the NBA was just a gleam in the city's eye. Well, let's be honest — it wasn't even a gleam. No one really thought something like this was possible. No one really dreamed that this could be a major-league city.

If they did, most folks would've questioned their sanity.

The ballpark in Bricktown had yet to be built. The arena in downtown wouldn't break ground until nearly a decade after the bombing.

Out of the ashes, Oklahoma City has risen.

There was no grander evidence of that than Wednesday night.

The Oklahoma City Arena was packed with folks. Everyone wore blue. Everyone clapped noisemakers. Everyone cheered until their hands hurt, and their voices strained.

It was glorious.

The action on the court wasn't bad either. The down-and-out franchise that came from Seattle to Oklahoma City and won only 23 games in its first season here stuck it to Denver. The Thunder held the Nuggets to only 15 points and five baskets in the first quarter, then built a 26-point lead in the second quarter.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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