The Dallas Mavericks ended the Thunder's season last year, winning the Western Conference Finals 4-1.
How much did OKC study that series in preparing for this season and making sure it didn't happen again?
"We looked at some of the things that were done, but we always look at how we play and how we can play better, no matter who we play," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Going into this season, we really wanted to be a lockdown defensive team, to be consistent at that end of the floor. And for the most part, all year long we've done that.
"Dallas is one of the best passing teams. I think they were the best-passing team last season. They make you play defense for 24 seconds. Even with this team they have now, they still do. They pass the ball well and that's the thing you have to do well against that team is play the entire shot clock because they make that extra pass down to the last second."
Though the Thunder leads the series 2-0 heading into Game 3 at Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Dallas, OKC has yet to click on all cylinders, offensively or defensively.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is aware of this, but not concerned by winning ugly.
"Hey, I don't really care what it looks like," Westbrook said. "In the playoffs, man, it doesn't matter. As long as we're up 2-zero, that's all that matters."
The Thunder was 21-12 on the road during the regular season, which was second only to San Antonio (22-11) for the best road record in the Western Conference and was third best in the NBA (Chicago was 24-9).
"The last two (actually three) years we've been a good road team," Brooks said. "Our guys love playing on the road. It takes mental toughness, there's no question. You're not liked and we're not going to be liked wherever we go. Our guys, they bring energy wherever we play.
"It's always fun to be on the road. You're together as a group. You're on the bus together, in the hotel together, everything is right there. We always have each other's back and I kind of like the spirit of our team when we're on the road."
When teams know each other as well as the Thunder and Mavericks do (eight games so far this season and counting, including the preseason), there tends to be less space to roam for both teams.
"We have to do a better job," Brooks said of correcting that problem. "That last game, we weren't running. We were playing around the basketball. We had three or four guys (near the ball) at any given play. We have to get into our sets quickly and run our sets with energy and force and it's not just with the ball.
"Sometimes you think the guy with the ball has to be the forceful guy. The four guys who are without the ball have to come off cuts and screens with good energy. Our spacing has to get better as the series goes on."
NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY
With five world championships and having played in 211 postseason games, is there anything out of the ordinary Thunder point guard Derek Fisher has seen in terms of how physical the first two games?
"No, not in my opinion," Fisher said Wednesday. "I haven't seen anything that's overly physical type of game going on. I don't see any dirty plays happening on the court. I just see two teams trying to win a game every time they meet and because of familiarity of the two teams, it's not a lot of fun to see the same certain guys out there every day."
Game 3 — Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Dallas
Game 4 — Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Dallas
Game 5, if necessary — 7 p.m. Monday, Chesapeake Energy Arena
Game 6, if necessary — May 10 at TBA, Dallas
Game 7, if necessary — May 12 at TBA, Chesapeake Energy Arena
Brooks on how the Thunder no longer is considered soft since trading for center Kendrick Perkins last season: "Does that help me? Did they think of me as a soft coach back then, too? I'm a tough guy now. It's nice having Perk around. I can act much tougher now. I've got some swag(ger)."