PHILADELPHIA — Following Monday night's 107-101 loss at Memphis that snapped the Thunder's three-game winning streak, no one in the losing locker room was crying. Not even a sniffle.
Guard Thabo Sefolosha sat with a blank stare and leaned back in his chair. Power forward Nick Collison buttoned his shirt as he candidly discussed the Thunder's poor start to the game.
Trying to avoid another interview, All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook once again showed he's as quick getting dressed and out the door as he is on a fastbreak. Fellow guard James Harden has learned to do the same.
All-Star forward Kevin Durant politely answered questions while reminding everyone the sky is not falling.
Within an hour, the visitor's locker room inside the FedExForum was empty and the Thunder (39-23) was boarding a private plane bound for Philadelphia, where it will battle the rejuvenated Sixers (32-30) at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Although no tears were shed after the Thunder's third loss in four games this season to the pesky Grizzlies, no one implied OKC players didn't care about the loss.
After a one-point setback at home against Chicago on Sunday, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said "there are a couple guys crying in the locker room right now."
Spoelstra was simply trying to point out his players cared about losing. Media used the opportunity to take shots at the much-maligned Heat and crying in basketball has since become a hot topic.
Every chance he gets, Thunder coach Scott Brooks stresses how much he likes his team because it cares about the game, but crying is not a requirement.
Brooks said "the best experience" in his basketball career came during his senior year in high school when his team lost in the California sectional finals.
"Actually, I was weeping like a little baby," Brooks said. "When you care about something, you can't turn it off and on. Every team I've been on has cried. I'm not saying guys were inconsolable, couldn't contain themselves. You're emotional. You love the game."
Brooks paused and smiled. "I mean, you don't want them to cry after every loss," Brooks said. "Eyes are watered up, but obviously you don't want it every game. Once every so often, sure."
Durant said the last time he cried was after the Game 6 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs last season, but explained it happened because he was in a reflective mood.
"It was kind of like tears of joy," Durant said. "It was tough to see a good season like that end."
Many in the league agree Spoelstra's misstep was taking a private locker room moment and making it public.
"I'm a guy who rarely gets mad over stuff like that," Durant said, "but as a player, you like to leave that type of stuff in the locker room."
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said he would have kept the matter private, but the topic has become much ado about nothing.
"It's wearing me out," Hollins said. "Many guys have cried. I've been in games where I've cried. I've cried as a coach when I didn't feel I did what I've needed to do and we had an emotional loss. It's an emotional game. It doesn't mean you quit or you're afraid or nothing like that. You hurt so bad because you lose."
Thunder at 76ers
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722)
Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
*Sixers swingman Andre Iguodala had two straight triple-doubles last week. He did not play in the season's previous meeting at OKC.
*The Sixers had won six of their last seven, eight of their last 10 and were the East's No. 7 playoff seed entering Tuesday's game at Indiana.
*Entering Tuesday night's games, only 4 1/2 games separated the No. 4 playoff seed from the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.