Series starts 12/29
|Game 1: Thursday, December 29th|
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|Game 2: Monday, January 2nd|
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|Game 3: Wednesday, February 1st|
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|Game 4: Monday, March 5th|
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8:00 PM ET, December 29, 2011
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Then he found a way to take it right back.
Durant scored 30 points and hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 104-102 win against Dallas on Thursday night in a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals.
"As a kid, of course you dream about hitting a game-winning shot in the NBA," said Durant, who has hit two other game-winners at the buzzer in his five seasons.
"It's a dream come true."
The Thunder let Dallas wipe away a five-point deficit in the final 46 seconds to go ahead on Vince Carter's 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining. That was just enough time for Thabo Sefolosha to get the ball to Durant, who drilled a 3 from the right wing that improved his team to 4-0.
"It was crazy, a crazy course of events," Durant said. "When two tough teams always go at it, it always comes down to the last play."
Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mavericks, whose title defense is off to a 0-3 start. Dallas had been blown out in its first two losses against Miami and Denver before letting a close one slip away.
"I think the more we go out and just play the game itself more, good things happen on the court," Shawn Marion said.
"We've got to just go out there and stop worrying about other things and just go out there and just play the game and just play hard."
Russell Westbrook had 16 points in his second straight subpar performance, but he made up for it with a few critical plays down the stretch.
Young: Durant gets last word
Kevin Durant took the spotlight off his spat with teammate Russell Westbrook with a winning shot on Thursday, writes Royce Young. Dime
He started the game 3 for 11 -- with one of the makes coming when Jason Kidd blocked his shot and Brendan Haywood tipped it up and in -- and had seven turnovers before getting a longer-than-usual benching in favor of Eric Maynor.
Westbrook returned when the game got close midway through the fourth quarter, providing a momentary lead with a two-handed breakaway dunk that turned into a three-point play.
He followed that with a 17-footer from the right wing for a 96-93 lead, but the Mavericks -- who made it a habit to stage late comebacks against Oklahoma City in last season's West finals -- had a few tricks left.
Nowitzki tied it at 96 with a 3-pointer but, after a Durant jumper, was called for a technical foul for arguing an offensive foul. Durant hit that foul shot and Westbrook added another jumper from the right elbow to put Oklahoma City up 101-96 with 46 seconds left.
Nowitzki pitched it back to Carter for the go-ahead 3, and Durant blamed himself for going for a block against Nowitzki and leaving Carter open.
Durant returned to the bench for a timeout, with rookie Reggie Jackson screaming encouragement that he was going to hit the game-winner.
"I just tried to be confident, tell myself I could make it and luckily I did," Durant said.
"It's special to hit a game-winner," he added. "The season's still young. To beat the champs in the early season is always pretty cool, but we've got to move on and get ready for the next game."
Ibaka finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for Oklahoma City.
Terry had 16 points and nine assists, and Delonte West scored 15 for the Mavericks, who rallied from 15 points down in the final 5 minutes of regulation in Game 4 of the West finals -- the teams' last meeting that counted in the arena. Dallas also overcame an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit in the clinching Game 5.
Before the game, both Oklahoma City All-Stars downplayed a report in The Oklahoman of a dispute between them during the team's win at Memphis a night earlier.
"It wasn't nothing that people should be blowing out of proportions," Durant said. "It happens every single day. Teams go through emotions, things happen. It's a competitive sport. Everybody's not going to always come in and be happy every single day."
Westbrook simply said: "What happened? I don't know what you're talking about."
Coach Scott Brooks said the whole team was frustrated over a series of bad possessions of pick-and-roll defense and everyone, not just the superstars, but he didn't see it as anything out of the ordinary.
"To me, an altercation -- in my world, it's a fight or it's a shove or something like that. A debate or a discussion is totally different than an altercation but that did not happen," Brooks said. "I've been coaching these guys for four years and we haven't had one fight, which surprises me, and we haven't had any issues that were below the belt that I had to step in."
Brooks said he thinks it drew more attention only because the Thunder are now a prominent team.
"I don't really think nothing happened. ... Everybody on the bench was yelling, the coaches was yelling, not at each other in a bad way but trying to get everything in order," Durant said.
The Mavs beat the Thunder in five games in the West finals, then lost both preseason games against Oklahoma City. Yet another meeting is scheduled for Monday in Dallas. Brooks admitted revenge could be a factor. "Most of our guys are not too far out of high school, so when your crosstown rival beats you, you want to beat them the next Friday night," Brooks said. ... After being outrebounded 98-68 in its first two games, Dallas was even on the boards. Both teams had 38. ... Oklahoma City had 26 turnovers.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DECEMBER 29: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots before Shawn Marion #0 of...(Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||38-90 (.422)||37-63 (.587)|
|3PM-3PA||9-26 (.346)||6-14 (.429)|
|FTM-FTA||17-21 (.810)||24-32 (.750)|
|Fast Break Points||10||17|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||24 (4/0)||19 (2/0)|
Next 5 Games
Vince Carter and Kevin Durant both hit go-ahead 3-pointers in the final 2 seconds of tonight's Thunder/Mavericks game. The last NBA regular season game with two go-ahead 3-pointers with less than 3 seconds remaining also involved Kevin Durant and the Thunder. It was January 2, 2009 (Nuggets at Thunder), when Kevin Durant hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to put the Thunder ahead before Carmelo Anthony hit a 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left to give the Nuggets the win. Another interesting note on this... The Thunder are currently 4-0 this season. The Thunder also had 4 wins the last time this happened. The difference? They were 34 games into the season. The Thunder were 4-30 at that time.
This is the 4th game-winning buzzer-beater 3-pt FG for the Thunder/SuperSonics franchise in the last 10 seasons. That matches the most of any team in the that time period[+]
Most Game-Winning Buzzer Beater 3-pt FG
From Elias: Kevin Durant has scored at least 30 points in each of the Thunder's first four games this season. Durant is the second player in the last 25 seasons to score at least 30 points in each of his team's first four games of a season. The only other player to do that in the last 25 seasons was Kobe Bryant in 2005-06. If Durant scores at least 30 points in his next game, he will be the first player to score 30 or more in each of his team's first five games since Michael Jordan in 1986-87.[+]
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