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OKC faces 3-1 deficit after puzzling defensive downtick

OKLAHOMA CITY  Imitating an NFL safety, Victor Oladipo intercepted a cross-court pass in the opening minute of the second half before turning on the jets to coast in for a layup, giving the Thunder a 62-54 lead.

Defense turned into offense. It was that simple.

Oklahoma City had been terrorizing Houston with pesky defense up to that point in Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.

But the defensive awareness and intensity that had forced 19 turnovers and given OKC a chance to tie the series at two games apiece went rogue at the worst possible time  sending the Thunder into a 3-1 abyss after a 113-109 loss at home.

A flustered James Harden heated up in the fourth quarter and the Rockets dropped a 40-point bomb on the Thunder over the final 12 minutes to stun the sellout crowd of 18,203 decked out in white-clad Thunder T-shirts emblazoned in orange with the words "Rise and Roar."

After Westbrook canned a deep 3-pointer to cut Houston's lead to 108-107 with 20 seconds left, the Thunder committed their biggest defensive mental lapse of all.

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