At 3-29, the Thunder entered New Year's Eve 2008 struggling, with easily the worst record in the league.
But a surprising 107-100 win at home over the Warriors jump-started a franchise and kick-started a holiday tradition.
“That was actually a turning point of that season,” coach Scott Brooks said of that game. “We had a really good January (after that).”
And since then, the Thunder has continued to play on New Year's Eve every season, going 5-1 on the holiday, with the only loss coming on Tuesday night to Portland.
“I like playing on Christmas and I like playing on New Years,” Brooks said. “Christmas because it means you're probably one of the better teams in the league and New Years, we've had a great tradition here. Hopefully we can continue to get that game.”
If the leadership of the Portland Trail Blazers looked familiar Tuesday night, that's because it is.
No team has hired away more employees of the Thunder organization than the Blazers.
Since the Thunder arrived in Oklahoma City, the Blazers have hired six members of the Thunder's staff, ranging from coaches to front office executives.
Portland first plucked former Thunder assistant general manager Rich Cho, naming him general manager in 2010. Cho has since moved on to Charlotte.
From there, the Blazers hired former Thunder front office executive Bill Branch to serve as the team's assistant general manager, David Vanterpool, another former Thunder front office executive, is now a Blazers assistant coach, and Nate Tibbetts and Dale Osborne, two former head coaches of the Thunder-owned Tulsa 66ers, also are on Portland head coach Terry Stotts' staff as assistants.
The Blazers also hired Chris Stackpole, a former Thunder strength and conditioning intern, to be their strength coach.
BLAZERS DEFENSE A WORRY DESPITE WIN
The explosive Portland offense, which averages an NBA-best 108.6 points per game, consistently keeps the Blazers in games.
But their bottom-tier defense, which gives up 102.9 points per game (fourth most in the NBA), continuously keeps opposing teams in games.
And when discussing their legitimacy as title contenders, that's the obvious factor that gives you pause.
“We're worried about our defense,” Stotts admitted before the game. “Our defense is trending in the wrong direction.”
But on Tuesday night, Portland had one of its best defensive performances of the season, holding the Thunder to 94 points on 44 percent shooting.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Thunder finished December 0-2 against Portland and 14-1 against everybody else.
The Thunder wraps up this three-game homestand on Thursday against the struggling Brooklyn Nets. Tip is at 7 p.m.