Monday, May 23, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Mavs 112, Thunder 105 (OT)
By Tim MacMahon
How it happened: Depending on one's perspective, the Mavs either seized this game with a spectacular comeback or the young Thunder fumbled it away.
However you view it, the Thunder are down 3-1 in the Western Conference finals despite almost leading wire to wire in regulation.
Kevin Durant scored 10 points in the first 4:06 as the desperate, determined Thunder jumped out to an 18-8 lead. He cooled off for the next two quarters and change, but he heated up early in the fourth, scoring eight of his 29 points in a seven-minute span as the Oklahoma City lead swelled from four points to 15.
And Durant didn’t score the rest of the game, which was promptly taken over by Dirk Nowitzki.
While Dirk was dominating, Oklahoma City simply couldn’t put the ball in the basket. The Mavs went on a 17-2 run after Durant’s 3-pointer with 5:04 remaining. Nowitzki had 12 points in that spurt, including buckets on four consecutive possessions in the final few minutes.
A pair of Nowitzki free throws with 6.4 seconds tied the game. A Durant heave from 28 feet with a couple ticks remaining was blocked by Shawn Marion to force overtime.
The Mavs finally took their first lead of the night 16 seconds into the extra period. They slammed the door with a stifling defensive effort. The Thunder scored only four points in overtime -- and a grand total of six in the final 10:04.
What it means: The Mavs are in complete control of the Western Conference finals as its head back south on Interstate 35. Of the 200 teams that have taken 3-1 leads, only eight failed to win the series.
Play of the game: Savvy old Jason Kidd used guile to get a wide-open look for the game-winner with 40.3 seconds remaining. After getting a pass from Nowitzki in the corner, Kidd pump-faked hard to get Russell Westbrook to fly by and calmly drilled the tie-breaking 3-pointer.
Stat of the night: So much for the Danny Crawford curse. After losing 16 of the previous 17 playoff games officiated by the veteran referee, the Mavs are 2-0 this postseason with Crawford working.