Heat vs. Thunder: Tough Oklahoma City Loss Will Build Character in Young Stars

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Larry W. Smith-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

After congratulating the Miami Heat on the NBA championship win, the Oklahoma City Thunder were forced to watch the opposition’s trophy ceremony and listen to the roar of the Heat’s home crowd.

While there is no such thing as a good loss, the hope is that the young Thunder use their experiences to never let this happen again. They want to win their own title.

No one can doubt that LeBron James and Miami were the better team during the Finals, but the future is bright in OKC with stars like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all still having so much career left.

The Thunder also have the ultimate ace up their sleeve to keeping their young stars focused on the task at hand: the rowdiest and most supportive of all the crowds in the NBA.

James Harden told the media and fans gathered outside the airport where the team landed after losing the Finals:

"I don't think any other NBA team has the support that we have, and it means a lot to us. I know my teammates are definitely appreciative of you guys. Again, thank you. Next year, we'll be back in that situation and we're going to bring a championship here."

With a college-football atmosphere in the Chesapeake Energy Arena and three main stars all under the age of 23 years old, there is no denying just how bright the future is in OKC if the team can keep their focus on the task at hand—winning games.

The success of the runner-up in the NBA Finals has never been great the following year, but Miami bucked that trend for the Thunder. If the organization makes the right offseason personnel moves and Durant and the boys keep their noses to the grindstone, there is no reason Oklahoma City won’t be right back in the finals next year.

Of course, every team in the Western Conference now sees the Thunder as the team to beat, but that should only act as motivation to keep the team on the right track.

Every sign points to next season being the biggest test of the young OKC team’s short reign together, but the character that these men have in key moments will only help them mature and handle the pressure better next time.

And I assure you, there will be a next time for Durant and the Thunder.


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