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Lesson Learned, Thunder Savor Heat Rematch

Bryan Terry/Oklahoman

The experience is an essential one, perhaps even a rite of passage for all seeking to be the last team standing.

For the Oklahoma City Thunder, their 4-1 series loss to Miami in last year's NBA Finals was a heartbreaking setback but one that now could spur them to a special season.

When the Thunder walks into American Airlines Arena for its Christmas Day showdown, it will be its first return to where last season hit a dead end. Naturally, this first of two regular-season rematches evokes memories of what went right, what went wrong and what's left to be done.

“You know when you get to the Finals you have to do a lot of things well as a team. And we did that,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “In order to win...

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