Thunder's Finals run best of Oklahoma sports year

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Even when a wildly successful season ended with four straight defeats for the Oklahoma City Thunder, it set off an impromptu celebration.

Thousands gathered in a field near the airport to welcome the Thunder back home after a 4-1 loss in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat in June, capping the franchise's best season yet in Oklahoma City. The Finals appearance was the highlight of Oklahoma's sports scene in 2012, even ending up third in voting for the biggest news story of the year overall.

For the Thunder, it was yet another step in the team's consistent rise since relocating from Seattle - from a losing team to squeaking into the playoffs and then from losing in the Western Conference finals to winning just a year later.

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