Oklahoma City had breezed through the playoffs with nearly the same authority as its counterparts in the Western Conference finals. The Thunder's record through two rounds (8-1) was just shy of San Antonio's perfect 8-0 mark.
But now Oklahoma City sits in a position it has yet to experience in these playoffs: trailing a series. The Spurs rallied for a 101-98 victory Sunday night in Game 1.
The last team to hold a series lead on the Thunder was Dallas in the West finals a year ago. Oklahoma City lost that series four games to one.
"It is a long series and we just have to continue to play and not get too high or low in one particular game in a series," Derek Fisher said. "This is a good team we are playing and they showed some mental toughness tonight being able to battle back, so now it is our turn. We have an opportunity to go back and take a look at some things and come back better hopefully on Tuesday night."
Fisher, of course, wasn't on that Oklahoma City team that was eliminated by the Mavericks in 2011. But the veteran guard has been through more playoff battles than his younger teammates combined.
Those younger teammates do understand, at least, what lies ahead. Oklahoma City can tie the series and snatch the home-court edge Tuesday night in San Antonio with a victory.
Kevin Durant and Co. nearly had one Sunday night.
"It's tough," he said. "We had this game going into the fourth. It's tough, but we can't hang our heads. It's a long series. We have to keep playing, try to get Game 2."