The Thunder already knows what it's like to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs, losing 4-2 in the opening round two years ago.
OKC didn't have center Kendrick Perkins two seasons ago, and still came within 0.5 seconds of forcing a Game 7.
For the past week, it appeared Perkins again would not be available for the Thunder after suffering a right hip muscle strain against the Dallas Mavericks on May 5.
Perkins participated in Sunday's practice and it appears likely he will be available for Game 1 on Monday at 8:30 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder is far better equipped to counter the Lakers' massiveness with Perkins and Nazr Mohammed at center than it was two seasons ago with Nenad Krstic.
Young stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka are now two years wiser, two years better, two years scarier than in 2010.
Plus, those Lakers were better than these Lakers. The Lakers no longer have Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar or coach Phil Jackson.
Perhaps most significant of all, OKC now holds the series wild card in former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, who admittedly pumped his fist to a chant of "Beat L-A" for 1,500 fans who greeted the Thunder at the airport following its sweep over the Mavs nine days ago.
A look at the rosters, then and now (and their regular-season stats):
Lakers starters: G Kobe Bryant (27.8 ppg; 5.4 rpg; 5.0 apg); G Derek Fisher (7.5 ppg; 2.1 rpg; 2.5 apg); F Ron Artest (11.0 ppg; 4.3 rpg; 3.0 apg); F Pau Gasol (18.3 ppg; 11.3 rpg; 3.4 apg); C Andrew Bynum (15.0 ppg; 8.3 rpg; 1.5 bpg).
Key subs: F Lamar Odom (10.8 ppg; 9.8 rpg; 3.3 apg); G Shannon Brown (8.1 ppg; 2.2 rpg; 1.3 apg); G Jordan Farmar (7.2 ppg; 1.6 rpg; 1.5 apg); F Luke Walton (2.4 ppg; 1.3 rpg; 1.4 apg).
Thunder starters: G Russell Westbrook (16.1 ppg; 4.8 rpg; 8.0 apg); G Thabo Sefolosha (6.0 ppg; 4.7 rpg; 1.8 apg); F Kevin Durant (30.1 ppg; 7.6 rpg; 2.8 apg); F Jeff Green (15.1 ppg; 6.0 rpg; 1.6 apg); C Nenad Krstic (8.4 ppg; 5.0 rpg; 0.7 apg).
Key subs: F Serge Ibaka (6.3 ppg; 5.4 rpg; 1.3 bpg); F Nick Collison (5.9 ppg; 5.1 rpg; 0.5 apg); G James Harden (9.9 ppg; 3.2 rpg; 1.8 apg); G Eric Maynor (4.5 ppg; 1.7 rpg; 3.4 apg).
Lakers starters: G Kobe Bryant (27.9 ppg; 5.4 rpg; 4.6 apg); G Ramon Sessions (12.7 ppg; 3.8 rpg; 6.2 apg); F Metta World Peace (7.7 ppg; 3.4 rpg; 2.2 apg); F Pau Gasol (17.1 ppg; 10.4 rpg; 3.7 apg); C Andrew Bynum (18.7 ppg; 11.8 rpg; 1.9 bpg).
Key subs: F Matt Barnes (7.8 ppg; 5.5 rpg; 2.0 apg); G Steve Blake (5.2 ppg; 1.6 rpg; 3.2 apg); F Jordan Hill (5.0 ppg; 4.8 rpg; 0.7 bpg); G Andrew Goudelock (4.4 ppg; 0.8 rpg; 0.5 apg); F Devin Ebanks (4.0 ppg; 2.3 rpg; 0.5 apg); F Troy Murphy (3.2 ppg; 3.2 rpg; 0.9 apg); F Josh McRoberts (2.8 ppg; 3.4 rpg; 1.0 apg).
Thunder starters: G Russell Westbrook (23.6 ppg; 4.6 rpg; 5.5 apg); G Thabo Sefolosha (4.8 ppg; 3.0 rpg; .437 3FG); F Kevin Durant (28.0 ppg; 8.0 rpg; 3.5 apg); F Serge Ibaka (9.1 ppg; 7.5 rpg; 3.7 bpg); C Kendrick Perkins (5.1 ppg; 6.6 rpg; 1.1 bpg).
Key subs: G James Harden (16.8 ppg; 4.1 rpg; 3.7 apg); G Daequan Cook (5.5 ppg; 2.1 rpg; 0.3 apg); G Derek Fisher (4.9 ppg; 1.5 rpg; 1.4 apg); F Nick Collison (4.5 ppg; 4.3 rpg; 1.3 apg); C Nazr Mohammed (2.7 ppg; 2.7 rpg; 0.6 bpg).
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON
Thunder 100, Lakers 85 (Feb. 23, Chesapeake Energy Arena): In the last game before this year's All-Star break, the Thunder manhandled the Lakers as Kevin Durant had 33 points, Russell Westbrook scored 19 and James Harden had 16. Kobe Bryant had 24 points, but was 7 for 24 from the field. OKC and Miami had league-leading 27-7 records at the break. "It's cool that we're winning games, but we can't be complacent," Durant said.
Thunder 102, Lakers 93 (March 29, Staples Center): Trailing 30-18 after the first quarter, the Thunder held the Lakers to 63 points in the final three periods. Russell Westbrook had 36 points, five assists and one turnover. Kevin Durant had 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Andrew Bynum had 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant had 23 points and nine rebounds, but he shot 7 for 25 from the floor.
Lakers 114, Thunder 106 2OT (April 22, Staples Center): The Lakers rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half for the victory, but the game was marred by a wicked elbow Metta World Peace landed on the left side of James Harden's face. Harden suffered a concussion and missed the final two regular-season games. World Peace was suspended seven games, missing the final regular-season contest and the first six playoff games.