The Thunder has maintained a youthful exuberance despite what the series record shows. That just may be a good thing. For all the talk about how the Thunder wasn't, and still might not be, ready for this stage because of its youth, that trait very well could be what digs Oklahoma City out of this jam. This team full of 20-somethings perhaps is prepared to benefit from its blind belief and cash in on its ignorance.
These Thunder players fully understand what's at stake but perhaps still don't realize just how difficult a task winning this year's title has become. Even if they know, they don't care. And that's what's made this group special.
“We're just going to play. That's the type of guys we've got here. That's the type of go-getters we've got here. They just don't care,” Durant said. “We're going to fight to the end no matter what. That's what we're going to do. That's all we can do. If we do that then we'll give ourselves a chance.”
Health and home-court also could be on the Thunder's side.
With the exception of James Harden's left hand bruise, the Thunder continues to enjoy extreme fortune in the health department going into Game 5. And in the event the Thunder does disprove the disbelievers and win Game 5, the series will shift back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.
That's a key difference in this year's Thunder team and many of those unlucky 13 that have tested this route before. Of the 13 teams since 1985 that have gone on to lose the Finals after falling behind 3-1, five lost Game 6 on the opponent's floor. The Thunder, if it forces a Game 6, will return to a place where it is 35-8 this year.
Looking for reason to believe the Thunder can get it back to OKC? Under the 2-3-2 format, the team trailing 3-1 is 7-6 in Game 5.
“You can look at numbers and break them down, and a lot of people do that,” Brooks said. “You can twist them any way you really want to twist them … The bottom line is you can win a basketball game if you play well.”
The Thunder believes it still can.
Don't line up for the funeral procession just yet.