And now as then, what we witnessed was dumbfounding.
Gobert picked up his fifth foul with 3:46 left in the third quarter. Now it's on to Game 6 on Friday when, once again, it's win or go home for OKC in a Salt Lake City venue that has been its own special house of horrors this postseason.
This game had all the makings of an OKC self-destruction through two quarters. I'd actually started a post an hour ago about how big of an embarrassment the Thunder's Game 5 performance was.
Gobert has arguably been the defining player of the series, keeping Westbrook from the rim throughout the first round. While on the bench, Anthony was seen arguing with Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks. Westbrook and George had it going from everywhere - sustaining that level of jump shooting likely isn't sustainable.
How did suspense suddenly creep into a series in which the Jazz controlled and held in their overachieving hands?
Gobert contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds and rookie Donovan Mitchell delivered 23 points. The Thunder was 18 points better than the Jazz with Abrines on the floor. They were back three games to one, overall. Once Gobert returned on January 19, the Jazz went 32-9 - a mark that includes the first four games of this series.More news: Liverpool 'to reject all interest in Mohamed Salah'
And Westbrook, of course, is front and center.
Russell Westbrook unleashed the same fury he had in Game 4, just a little more efficiently this time.
But foul trouble to Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert left the duo off the court for the final six minutes. The Thunder offense finally unstuck and they clawed back into the game. But there are also few, if any, players who could've orchestrated a comeback like this with elimination so close and the chances of survival sitting somewhere around two percent.
After being down by as many as 25 in the third quarter, the Oklahoma City Thunder made one of the greatest comebacks in National Basketball Association playoff history. The easy corner looks that the Jazz were thriving on evaporated. Grant was absolutely instrumental for the Thunder on the defensive end. Rubio is a better scorer than most give him credit for, but he remains primarily a passer and you want him taking a shot instead of Mitchell or Joe Ingles at the three-point line. That frantic defense continued throughout the fourth as Utah couldn't generate clean looks.
It happened in Games 3 and 4 of this NBA Western Conference first-round playoff series, and it happened for almost 2½ quarters on Wednesday.
"We will watch the film and figure out what went wrong, but from my analysis right after the game, we just stopped getting back in transition and they just fed off of that". Here are five takeaways heading into Game 6 on the road. This team hasn't felt right all year.