Take a sweep of the Lakers, a nine-day layoff, and a dominant outing by Dirk Nowitzki in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, and it's understandable why the Dallas Mavericks may have started thinking too highly of themselves.
Losing Game 2 at home to a team that played four subs nearly the entire fourth quarter should be a strong dose of humility.
"I'm not going to say a loss is ever good, because I don't ever like to lose. It doesn't do well for my sleep pattern," Dallas center Tyson Chandler said Friday. "But sometimes you need to get hit on the chin and get woke up. Last night, they hit us on the chin. Hopefully, that woke us up."
Oklahoma City withstood an early scoring barrage, wiped out an 11-point deficit by halftime then controlled things down the stretch. Instead of being awed by the big stage, the Thunder's youth, athleticism and perhaps a bit of naïveté served them well.
Considering Oklahoma City pulled out Game 2 with all-star point guard Russell Westbrook spending the last quarter on the bench, it would seem like they have plenty to build on as the series moves to their court for Game 3 on Saturday night.
Provided, that is, that Westbrook is OK with having had to watch.
Oklahoma City has had its way with a Dallas defense that kept the Lakers and Trail Blazers consistently scoring in the 80s, with a high of 96 points.
Older and less athletic, the Mavericks have to rely on their savvy. It worked in Game 1 and in two of the three regular-season meetings - in fact, both games that were played in Oklahoma City.
"I think disposition is important, [efficiency] is important, and understanding how we've got to play together to be successful is very important," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "I feel like we have got to play with a greater edge, for sure.
"I don't think we've lost it, but I think we've got to play with more of an edge."
Good news for the Miami Heat: They're the only team still unbeaten at home in this year's playoffs. Better news for the Heat: To win the NBA championship, they only need to stay that way.
And here's perhaps some sobering news for the Heat: Every other team left in this postseason is 1-0 on Miami's home floor this year.
So if there's a reason for Miami to be more cautious than celebratory, that's it. Yes, winning Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Chicago came with a bonus - the road to the title now goes through Miami, which wrested home-court advantage from the Bulls and would also have it in the NBA Finals against either Dallas or Oklahoma City.
Still, just getting into the driver's seat is a source of pride for Miami, for obvious reasons.
"We beat the best team in the league on their floor, and now the pressure is to keep home-court advantage - and that's extremely important," Heat forward Chris Bosh said Friday. "So, yeah, if we defend home-court from here on out, you can do the math."