Oklahoma City Thunder needed a career high in points from Kevin Durant to survive the Dallas Mavericks in overtime. Durant, who had 43 in regulation, dropped nine points in the overtime period as the Thunder beat the Mavs 117-114 in overtime. Westbrook also contributed 31 points as the Thunder became the first team in the association to reach 32 wins. Oklahoma City improves to 28-0 when leading after three quarters.
Last time these two teams met, Westbrook struggled in the first quarter, which led him to really struggle for a majority of the game, excluding the overtime session. Tonight, Westbrook led the Thunder out of the locker room, exploding onto the scene. Oklahoma City used Westbrook’s 10 first quarter points to help build an early lead against Dallas. It was topped off by Nick Collison’s jumper with 11 seconds in the quarter, giving Oklahoma City the 30-22 lead.
The Thunder pushed their lead up to 14 points in the second quarter, but the Mavericks, in their normal style, never went away. Despite leading by double digits, the Thunder never found a comfortable lead, and the Mavericks cut it down to five points with 30 seconds to go. Oklahoma City though, pushed it back to 53-46 at haltime. Dallas ended the half 9-2 lead. It spurred the run for the Mavericks when Kendrick Perkins picked up a technical foul.
In the third quarter, Oklahoma City did it again. they came out, firing and extending their lead back to double digits. Oklahoma City grabbed the 72-58 lead with an 8-0 run over a span that lasted 1:14 in the quarter. A 13-4 run by the Mavericks made it a ball game again. 76-71 was the score off Shawn Marion lay up. The American Airlines Center was rocking. Oklahoma City responded with a 5-1 to end the quarter.
The fourth quarter was something we hadn’t seen much this season. Durant missed a lot of fourth quarter shots. After nailing his first shot of the quarter, Durant missed five consecutive shots in a span of nine minutes. One of the longest droughts in Durant’s career. One thing that kept the Thunder from getting blown out after a team came from behind to take the lead was Durant’s ability to make free throws. Durant nailed eight consecutive free throws in the quarter, 21 straight in the game.
The Mavericks fought back in the fourth, battling from nine points down in the quarter to take the lead at 90-89 with 6:41 left in regulation. The Mavericks increased their lead to as much as three points, lastly at 96-93 off a Dirk Nowitzki jumper with 3:26 remaining. Oklahoma City grabbed the lead off a Durant jumper, giving Oklahoma city the 97-96 lead. Teams would trade buckets over the next minute, until Oklahoma City took the lead off a bunch of Durant free throws.
After a Mike James missed three point attempt, Westbrook grabbed the rebound and nailed the free throws. Unstead of fouling, the Thunder decided to play defense. OJ Mayo. That’s all you really need to know about the next play from Dallas. The former Memphis Grizzlie, nailed a three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left, tying the game at 105 a piece. Oklahoma City still had a shot though.
Kendrick Perkins set a really good screen, freeing Durant, but the Mavericks played great defense, and basically Durant took a 22-foot jumper in front of three different Dallas defenders. The shot was long, and we headed to overtime.
In overtime, Durant decided, already with 43 points, he is going to take the game over. Durant dropped nine points in the extra session, including a huge three with 2:05 remaining, gave the Thunder the 112-110 lead. After the Mavericks tied the game at 114 each, Durant a running shot with 16.2 seconds left, giving him 52 points and Oklahoma City the lead. After Dirk missed his shot, Westbrook missed the first of two shots, nailing the second. The Mavericks took a bad shot, and Oklahoma City held on for the win.
Keys to the Game
Defending the Paint: C
The Thunder were outscored 44-42 in the paint. However, a lot of those points came early. The Thunder improved as the game progressed. Oklahoma City did what they had to do against the Mavericks to hold on to the win. It wasn’t anything pretty, or special, but it got the job done.
Russell Westbrook: A
Westbrook came out and was hot from the start. He cooled off, but he still dropped 31 points tonight. He also grabbed six boards and six assists. His ability to defer to Durant in overtime was something that we haven’t seen. He realized Durant was hot, and got him the ball. And people say this guy isn’t a point guard? Please.
Fast Break Points: F
The Mavericks were able to do anything they wanted to do in transition. The Thunder dropped just eight points on the break, but allowed 17 points. The defense wasn’t there in transition, and Dallas made the Thunder play. Gotta do better than that.