Kendrick Perkins blocked a shot, then Serge Ibaka did the same a moment later that led to a Russell Westbrook breakaway, and you thought the roof might blow clean off the Oklahoma City Arena.
But a couple minutes later, Westbrook nailed a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, a defender in his face and only seconds left, and you were pretty darn sure that you felt the whole place shake.
What a game.
What a night.
Is it time for the playoffs yet?
On a night when the Thunder clinched a spot in the NBA playoffs with a 99-90 victory against the Trail Blazers, we were reminded of just how great the postseason is. This game had all the trappings of a playoff contest. Big shots. Tough stops. Electric atmosphere.
“This is our March Madness, these last nine or 10 games,” Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said. “We're just trying to get as many wins as possible.”
Granted, these final 10 regular-season games are important for the Thunder. The only thing that Oklahoma City did with its victory over Portland is assure itself of a playoff spot. It has yet to secure that precious home-court advantage.
“Everybody's playing for that position,” Durant said. “It's so close from four to eight, maybe from three to eight. Every game is important, so they're going out there and playing their hardest.
“But that makes it fun.”
With a night as glorious and grand as Sunday was, it's difficult not to think about the fun to come.
The Thunder and the Blazers were going after each other from the very first possession. After the Thunder took the opening tip, Perkins set a bone-rattling screen that sprung Durant for an open three.
It was a sign of things to come.
Gerald Wallace hit one tough shot after another, pouring in 40 points for the Blazers.
Durant fought his shot all night but played some hard-nosed defense on Wallace when it mattered most late in the game.
Perkins and Ibaka battled LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby and anyone else the Blazers sent into the paint.
Scott Brooks even picked up a technical, his first of the season.
“I guess I'll be hearing from my mother now,” he said after the game.
He smiled and chuckled.
But seriously ...
“Both teams really played as hard as they can play,” the Thunder coach said, “fighting through every possession.”
It set up a fantastic finish, an ending worthy of ESPN's national television audience and enticing for the playoffs to come.
After a questionable foul on Durant sent the Oklahoma City faithful booing all through a television timeout, the Blazers cut the Thunder's lead to two with just over two minutes left. Only two minutes earlier, it had been eight points.
The Thunder responded with a Perkins putback, then got the twin blocks from Perk and Ibaka and the back-to-back baskets from Westbrook.
The Thunder didn't fold in the crunch.
“I'm proud that they stayed together,” Brooks said. “When things weren't going our way ... we were communicating and talking and helping each other out. That's what good teams do, and we're a good basketball team.”
No doubt about that.
This team has made two years ago seem a distant memory. That was the season this franchise came to town, won only one of its first 13 games and had everyone scrambling for the record books to see if they might contend for the worst record ever.
Now, this bunch has proved that it can find a way to win no matter the circumstance.
“That's what the playoffs are about,” Brooks said. “It's about being mentally tough, not only physically tough.”
Looks like the Thunder is ready for the postseason.
So are the rest of us.