Tipping off another conference finals couldn't happen soon enough for Oklahoma City. With nothing to do but prepare for the Spurs all week -- and be asked about the Spurs -- the Thunder grew weary of questions about being perceived underdogs. About not having the same championship pedigree. About how they'll possibly stop a team rolling through one of the 10 longest winning streaks in NBA history.
So repetitive were the questions that Durant, visibly annoyed, suggested earlier this week that someone instead ask how the Thunder are going "to come at" the Spurs.
That didn't stop Oklahoma City from facing more of the same at shootaround Sunday morning, when Thunder coach Scott Brooks tried quashing again the idea his team was somehow intimidated.
"They're not going to be in awe. They're going to have respect for them," Brooks said. "We know we can beat them." They've still got to prove it.
Spurs C DeJuan Blair has given the Thunder fits in his three NBA seasons, including 22 points on them in a March win. But San Antonio's starting center for practically the entire season didn't play for the third consecutive playoff game. "The game will tell us what's appropriate and what's not," Popovich said before tipoff. ...Just because a Boston-Oklahoma City matchup in still possible in the NBA Finals doesn't mean center Kendrick Perkins is hopeful about facing his old team. "I really don't care," Perkins said of the Celtics advancing. ...Gov. Rick Perry took in his first Spurs game this year, sitting courtside next to Spurs owner Peter Holt, a major donor to the former Republican presidential candidate.