Thunder Rewind: Best in the West

In their third and fourth seasons as a franchise, Oklahoma City earned a shot at basketball's biggest prize.
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Oklahoma City came into their own as their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden took over the Western Conference.

After going blow-for-blow with the Los Angeles Lakers in their second season as a franchise, the Thunder took leaps forward.

Adding Serge Ibaka to the mix, OKC’s Big 3 turned into a four, leading the Thunder to a 55-27 record in their third season.

OKC would get their first playoff series win in the 2011 Playoffs, breezing by the Denver Nuggets 4-1 in the first round.

They would earn their way to the Western Conference Finals in a grueling series that went the distance against the Memphis Grizzlies, setting up a date with the Dallas Mavericks.

Ultimately, it proved to be a year early as Dirk Nowitzki dispatched of the Thunder 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals.

Throwing Derek Fisher into the mix helped push Oklahoma City over the top.

Finishing 47-19, the Thunder went on a revenge tour in the 2012 Playoffs.

Avenging the season prior, OKC eliminated the Mavericks with a sweep in the first round. They then finished off the Lakers 4-1 in the second round. Falling behind the San Antonio Spurs 2-0 to open the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City reeled off four straight to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.

Winning the first game against LeBron James’ Miami Heat, OKC dropped the next four to end their season. But the loss in the Finals proved to be the closing of a chapter.

Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Harden in October after the two sides couldn’t reach a deal on Harden’s contract.

On Oct. 27, Presti sent the former Arizona State star to Houston, netting Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin and a sizable draft haul.

Though they lost their Six Man of the Year and a proven scorer in Harden, Westbrook and Durant managed to take their game to the next level and the leading duo.