In the 1995-96 season, the Chicago Bulls took a 3-0 lead over Karl, who was coaching the Seattle SuperSonics at the time. According to Karl, the Bulls had already begun celebrating their fourth NBA title in six years.
"They had a rehearsal on our court on handing out the trophy," Karl said Sunday. "It was pretty evident. They had a stage they were going to bring on the court. They had people with scripts on who was going to do what and who was going to be where."
If there was a rehearsal before Game 4, it was orchestrated by the NBA, not the Bulls, because the game was in Seattle, and the Bulls certainly be staging a trophy ceremony in KeyArena.
The Sonics won Games 4 and 5 before losing Game 6 in Chicago, where the Bulls indeed were handed the trophy.
What's the biggest thing Thunder coach Scott Brooks has learned through the team's second postseason experience.
"I learned that we have some good players," Brooks said. "We have a team full of players that are committed to playing good basketball."
Serge Ibaka stepped up for OKC in Game 3 with 22 points, 16 rebounds, four blocked shots and went 10 for 10 from the free-throw line.
"It's like that in the playoffs," Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said. "You never know what guy is going to step up and be the hero of the game. I said it's going to be a different guy on this team every night that's going to win a playoff game for us. That's what makes us so talented. That's what makes us the team that we are to have a chance to actually win the championship. We have enough talent, we're deep enough that's it's going to be a different guy each game that's going to hit a big shot or make a big play for us to win a game."
Said forward Nick Collison: "Games like this say a lot about different guys' character, the ability of guys like Russell (Westbrook) and Kevin (Durant) to make the pass, make the play. And guys like Serge just step up and make shots. Not something they've done a lot in their career. We got a lot of guys who can play and we're playing well right now. And we're in a good spot."