Rapid Reaction: Thunder 117, Mavs 114 (OT)
How it happened: It took a career-high 52 points from Kevin Durant to defeat the Dallas Mavericks.
Durant dominated the overtime period, scoring nine points on 3-of-4 shooting. That included a couple of clutch, Dirk Nowitzki-knockoff, one-legged jumpers, the second of which gave the Thunder the lead for good.
The Mavs made a remarkable comeback to survive regulation after trailing by as many as 14 points and entering the fourth quarter facing a nine-point deficit. Nowitzki and Elton Brand, who were ineffective offensively through three quarters, put the Mavs on their backs, combining to score 22 points in the fourth quarter. O.J. Mayo sent the game into overtime by drilling a heavily contested 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining in regulation.
Durant missed a long jumper at the regulation buzzer, but that just gave him a chance to eclipse his previous career high of 51 points. It wasn’t a particularly efficient performance by the three-time NBA scoring champion, who made only 13 of 31 shots from the floor, but Durant did hit 21 of 21 free throws. And he stepped up with sweet step-backs to seal the win.
Point guard Russell Westbrook scored 31 points in a co-starring role for Oklahoma City.
Mavs sixth man Vince Carter kept Dallas in the game for much of the night, scoring a season-high 29 points.
Nowitzki missed 10 of his first 11 shots from the floor, finishing with 18 points on 5-of-19 shooting. He also missed a free throw with 41.8 seconds remaining when the Mavs had a chance to take the lead.
What it means: The Mavs’ season-high winning streak was snapped at four games. The Thunder won their sixth straight game, extending the league’s longest active winning streak and improving their NBA-best record to 32-8. Dallas dropped to 17-24 at the Mavs’ season midpoint, falling four games behind the Trail Blazers for what would be the Western Conference’s final playoff seed.
Play of the game: Durant hit his career high and gave the Thunder the lead for good with an off-the-dribble midrange runner over Shawn Marion with 16.5 seconds remaining. Durant caught the ball on the right wing, took a couple of hard dribbles to his left and launched the shot off his left foot a little inside the free throw line, falling away ever so slightly to make it impossible for Marion to block it.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 1-8 in overtime games this season, including two losses to the Thunder and one to the Miami Heat.
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