Lesson Learned??

I have no idea how many times I've heard it and I've heard it from high school players and coaches all the way up to the pros.

When a team or player or coach, for that matter, does something stupid or doesn't do something they've been practicing and working on forever, I always hear and you always hear, 'well that's something we just have to learn from,' or 'well we'll learn from this and we'll know not to do it next time.'

And then of course, like last night in Orlando for the Thunder, next time comes and no one appears to have learned a darned thing.

The Thunder jumped up big on Orlando in Oklahoma City back in December and still had a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The Thunder took an early night off but the Magic kept right on playing and came within a Serge Ibaka blocked shot with a second and a half to play of coming all the way back and winning the game.

I remember Kevin Durant and others saying things like, 'we have to stop letting teams get back into games, when we have someone down we have to keep on going.'

Durant and everyone else that night preaching that message had preached it before.

And then came last night and a 16-point lead on the road this time against the Magic and again Orlando refused to quit while the Thunder seemed to mentally go off to Disneyworld.

The fourth quarter was as bad a 12 minutes of basketball as you're likely to see from the Thunder. No offense, no defense when it mattered most and turnovers by the peach basket.

After last night's game everyone fell on their swords and accepted blame and rightfully so because there was plenty to go around.

Today at practice, which went longer than planned, Scott Brooks told those of us who were there that he and his players spent a lot of time going over the film from last night and talking about what went wrong and where things need to improve.

"We built a great lead and then we relaxed," he admitted. "And then the last play was so out of character for us but we understand what we could have done better. It was a team thing."

Indeed, only one player on the team was able to get back on defense on the last play and when you're outnumbered 3-to-1 there's not a whole lot you can do.

Brooks said he understands why so many fans and media are focused on the last play of the game but to his credit he also said, "there's so many plays that we could have made prior to that that wouldn't have put us in that position to begin with."

In other words the Thunder screwed that one up last night long before the last play.

Now we turn our attention to Sunday when Carmelo Anthony and the circus that is the New York Knicks come to town.

The Knicks have struggled all season and have either been way up, like Friday night when they clobbered the Nuggets in Denver, or way down, like a few nights before when they lost to the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.

A lot of folks are wondering which Knicks team will show up, the one at the top of the roller coaster like in Denver or the one at the bottom of the elevator shaft like in Milwaukee.

As for me I'm wondering which Thunder team will show up.

The one that seemed to have learned its lesson when it played the Knicks in New York on Christmas Day, getting a big lead that just kept getting bigger or the one we saw last night.

The one that got a big lead again and instead of remembering lessons that had been administered before, just got schooled again.