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OKC Thunder: Thunder has learned how to come back and win games late

Not long ago, it was Oklahoma City that failed to hold late leads. Experience has helped Thunder players reverse that trend.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 20, 2012

/articleid/3677295/1/pictures/1724766">Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) reacts during Game 4 in the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs between the L.A. Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Saturday, May 19, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) reacts during Game 4 in the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs between the L.A. Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Saturday, May 19, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

But the Thunder is now emphatically showing how much it learned from last year.

“It helps when you have experience, and I think we have experience now,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “(It's) not that three years ago we didn't have a chance, but we were learning how to win games.

After stunning the Staples Center crowd Saturday and taking a 3-1 series lead, the Thunder's first chance to close out the Lakers now comes in Game 5 on Monday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder is 2-0 in the Oklahoma City era in closeout opportunities at home.

If anything, the Thunder's mounting experience and confidence suggests this series won't last much longer.

“It doesn't guarantee that we're going to win the next close game,” Brooks said, “but it puts you in the position that we have something to fall back on … and say, ‘OK, this is what we do in this situation.'

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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