As Rockets coach Kevin McHale and guard James Harden reviewed their respective playoff horizons Tuesday, each found reason for optimism entering Game 2 of the Rockets’ first-round series at Oklahoma City.

McHale, in schooling the Rockets for Game 2 of the series tonight after the Thunder’s 120-91 win Sunday in Oklahoma City, can hearken back to two of the most famous boom-and-bust cycles in NBA history to show how playoff fortunes can turn on a dime.

“I’ve been in playoff series where we’ve won by 30 and lost the next game,” he said. “Every game is new unto itself.”

McHale’s memories unfolded on the largest stage of all. In 1984, he was a member of the Celtics team that was blown out 137-104 by the Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals but won 129-125 in a Game 4 overtime thriller that featured one of the most famous confrontations in playoff history: McHale’s bench-clearing clothesline takedown of the Lakers’ Kurt Rambis.

Boston went on to win the 1984 championship, but a year later the Celtics opened the Finals with a 148-114 blowout and then lost Game 2 109-102 and dropped the series to LA in six games.

“Every game in the NBA is new,” McHale said. “Tuesday’s game is not like Wednesday’s game. They’re all different.”

Meanwhile, in a universe more akin to the one occupied by the Rockets and Thunder, Harden was quick to note the possible parallels for the Rockets of Chicago’ Game 2 win over Brooklyn after the Nets took Game 1 of that first-round series.

“You saw what can happen,” Harden said. “There’s just a matter of us fixing things, watching film and going out and executing. We know what we did (in Game 1). We know what we can change and how much better we can play. We’ve just got to go out there and do it.”

The chance for redemption begins quickly. The Rockets were deer in the headlights in Game 1, trailing 13-2 after five minutes and scoring only 19 first-quarter points before rallying to tie the game at 40-40 and then surrendering a 20-7 Thunder roll to end the first half.

“That was one of the downfalls, getting off to that slow start and having to climb our way back up and tying the game and then having them go on another run,” Harden said. “If we don’t have to spend too much time and effort to come back from a deficit, we will be all right.”