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OKC Thunder: Derek Fisher has been on bad side of a playoff series sweep

Fisher expects the defending NBA champion Mavericks to play their best game of this series — and avoid the oh-fer embarrassment.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 4, 2012

DALLAS — Derek Fisher has walked in the shoes of the Dallas Mavericks.

Just last season in fact.

It's a place Fisher remembers all-too well and one that, no matter how hard he tries, won't easily be forgotten.

That place is on the wrong end of a playoff sweep.

The Mavs are on the brink of that reality thanks to the Thunder unexpectedly thumping Dallas in its backyard in Game 3 on Thursday.

With a win in Game 4 on Saturday night inside American Airlines Center, the Thunder can notch its first playoff sweep of the franchise's Oklahoma City era and add Dallas to a shortlist of defending champions to fail to win a playoff game.

How's that for motivation?

Dallas is in danger of becoming just the fifth champion to not win a single game in the playoffs the year after winning the title. Two defending champions, Boston in 1970 and Chicago in 1999, failed to qualify for the postseason. The other two, the Philadelphia Warriors in 1957 and Miami in 2007, were swept out of the first round.

In NBA history, only five other defending champs were swept in round two or later.

Fisher was a member of one of those teams. His Lakers lost 4-0 to the Mavericks in the semifinals a year ago.

“Having been there before, (it sticks with you),” Fisher said. “And I don't even know if it only lasts for one summer. You just never forget not finding a way to win a game in a playoff series. But you learn from it and you grow from it.”

If the Thunder does indeed deliver the knockout punch to Dallas on Saturday, however, it hardly assures OKC a parade. In both instances where the defending champion was swept in the first round, the culprits (Chicago and Syracuse) were ousted in round two.

Of the five other defending champions that got swept in round two or later, only three were eliminated before the Finals. And just two of those three teams, Chicago in 1991 and Dallas in 2011, went on to win the title.

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