With its 104-98 loss in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, the Thunder learned it's just as painful to lose while being ahead as it is when you're constantly coming from behind.
In the first three games of the series, the Miami Heat humiliated OKC by an 82-57 count in the first quarter, during which the Thunder had managed to hold the lead just once, and that was for just 36 seconds.
In Game 4, OKC pounced early with a 33-19 lead after the first period, during which Miami led for just 10 seconds.
The Thunder immediately was in foreign territory, playing from in front rather than playing catch-up from the get-go.
What transpired was a 16-0 run by the Heat in a span of just 3:33 from the end of the first quarter to the 8:30 mark of the second.
From that point forward, the teams nearly played in a dead heat in a game that had 12 lead changes and eight ties.
OKC shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first quarter (15 for 24), but just 43.1 percent (25 for 58) thereafter.
AN OLD FRIEND
A familiar friend returned in the fourth quarter as the Thunder rediscovered its shooting touch at the free-throw line.
OKC shot 70.1 percent from the line in the first three games of the series, but converted 93.8 percent (15 of 16) in Game 4. Trouble was, it was 10 fewer attempts than the Thunder averaged during the regular season.
A NEW ENEMY
The Thunder's shooting woes beyond the 3-point arc continued, however.
OKC shot just 18.8 percent (3 for 16) from 3-point range in Game 4 and is now shooting 27.3 percent (21 for 77) in the Finals.
The Thunder shot 35.8 percent on 3-pointers during the regular season and was shooting 37.4 percent in the playoffs before the Finals.
Continue reading this story on the...