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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

That explains why the Thunder, at least publicly, isn't getting caught up in talk of a sweep. All year, Oklahoma City has had its sights set on a championship, not a sweep of the Mavericks and not revenge for last year's West Finals defeat.

To the Thunder, this series — and even the possibility of a sweep — is seen only as a part of the necessary process.

“The goal is to win four out of seven,” Fisher said. “And we're three games closer to that goal.”

If anyone on the Thunder knows how tough this first chance at a closeout game will be it's Fisher, a five-time champion who has appeared in more playoff games than any active player.

“They still have a number of guys that were on their championship team a year ago,” Fisher said. “And when you have championship DNA you don't quit. And so we can't expect this team to quit because they're down three games. I anticipate they'll play their best game of the series (Saturday). And we're going to have to figure out a way to try and best that in order to win.”

The word respect reverberated through the Thunder team for 30 minutes Friday as players talked to the media. If this sweep is to be, they know it must start with maintaining deference for Dallas.

“We got to respect these guys,” said Kevin Durant. “We know they're not just going to let us come in here and sweep them. They've got a lot of pride. They play hard. So it's going to be a tough, tough closeout game and hopefully we do it. We know we have to be prepared and focused and locked in to complete a task like that. But we got a good opportunity.”