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OKC Thunder: How should a team approach a potential sweep — ignore it or embrace it?

With a victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 on Saturday, OKC would pull off a sweep, eliminating the reigning world champions 4-0. How should a team approach a potential sweep?
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: May 4, 2012

This experience was so devastating, Perkins has blocked it from his memory.

"We got swept? For real?" a disbelieving Perkins asked when reminded. "Nah, I don't think so."

To Perkins, Game 4 on Saturday against Dallas is no different from Game 1 the previous Saturday.

"Shoot, you try to win every day that you can," Perkins said. "You don't want to leave nothing on the table. You don't want to prolong the series, for real. You want to get that over with."

Thinking sweep also is disrespecting your opponent.

"You kind of don't want to have that mindset about sweeping somebody," Perkins said. "You really just want to go out there and win each game. You don't want to look at it as, 'Oh, just because it's Game 4 and they're down 3-0 they're just going to lay down.' You don't ever think that. If you happen to win Game 4, then you can think about what faces you next."

Thunder reserve point guard Derek Fisher has five championship rings, but has been on the wrong side of three playoff sweeps in his 16-year career, including last year in the second round against the Mavericks.

"There's not any pressure to sweep a team," Fisher explained. "The pressure is to win four out of seven and we're three games closer to that goal. I don't think (Saturday) is about us putting our entire hopes on winning that game. We just need to come in here and focus. That's what we did (Thursday) night (a 95-79 blowout victory) and it worked well for us."

OKC veteran center Nazr Mohammed, who won the 2005 world title with the San Antonio Spurs, looked at it from the Mavericks' point of view.

"They're not just going to lay down," Mohammed said. "No one wants to be swept. With each win you allow, you'd let them get more and more hope, more and more confidence, so they're going to play better every game. We're confident in ourselves to get a fourth win."