Durant’s heroics for Thunder prevent Mavs from stealing series opener
Oklahoma City, OK, United States (AHN Sports) – After struggling all night, Kevin Durant converted a tough shot with 1.5 seconds left, and the Oklahoma City Thunder escaped with a 99-98 win over the Dallas Mavericks Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
It gave the Thunder a 1-0 series lead over the defending NBA champions, who dismissed Oklahoma City in a five game West finals last season.
Durant, who finished once again as the top scorer in the league, struggled to find his range as he shot just 10-for-27 from the field. He finished with 25 points, including the game winner, an off-balanced 15-footer from the foul-line.
With Shawn Marion all over him, Durant got his biggest shot of game to bounce off the front of the rim, off the backboard and in, with 1.5 ticks remaining as the Thunder prevented the Mavs from snatching Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal at their homecourt.
Durant, the seventh player in NBA history to win three consecutive NBA scoring titles, also had six boards and four blocks. He got help from his usual support cast, with Russell Westbrook netting a game-best 28 points and James Harden scoring 22.
Serge Ibaka filled the stat sheets with 22 points, six rebounds and five blocks for the Thunder, who hope to get a stranglehold on the series in Game 2 Monday night at Oklahoma City.
Dirk Nowitzki led the way for the Mavericks with 25 points, including 11 in the final five minutes. The reigning NBA Finals MVP put Dallas up by one with less than 10 seconds left after making both free throws for a 98-97 lead.
Jason Terry added 20 and Marion finished with 17 points and eight rebounds for Dallas, which had lost three of its four meetings with the Thunder this season.