After three quarters, it was Oklahoma City 81, Dallas 72. The Mavericks bench, understandably, saw this as intolerable, and in six minutes they’d made up the entire deficit and then some. A brief period of teeter-totter, and then Kevin Durant, who’d gone cold earlier in the quarter, started drawing fouls; he made eight free throws in the last two minutes, butting the Thunder up three. Vince Carter dunked with seven seconds left to close the gap to one; Russell Westbrook followed with two more free throws. O. J. Mayo came through with a trey at :02.3, tying it at 105, and Durant’s 20-footer went awry.
Of course, the Thunder love overtime. At :16.5, Durant made a 13-foot jumper to go up two; Westbrook added a free throw at :02.7; Carter got off the last shot, which fell short, and it was OKC 117, Dallas 114 at the horn.
It was good to see Dirk back; it was even better to see him not doing particularly well. Nowitzki was 5-19 for 18 points, though he did knock down eight of nine free throws. Mayo, always better at home than on the road, went 6-16 to get his 18 points. But the stats-gathering guy was Carter, 29 off the bench, a season high. The entire Thunder bench had only 21, versus 49 for the Mavs. (Elton Brand had the one Dallas double-double, with ten points and 13 boards.)
Then again, even 49 pales beside Durant’s career high: 52 points, 13-31 from the floor but 21-21 from the stripe. Throw in 31 from Westbrook and suddenly you’re not worried so much about scoring, although Serge Ibaka did come up with some timely moves, 11 points and 14 rebounds. OKC dominated the glass, 53-46, 18-11 offensive, though they were outshot by the Mavs, 45-41 percent.
(Oh, you wanted a Telltale Statistic? Durant, despite those 52 points, was -1 for the night. Tough crowd in Dallas, let me tell you. Mark Cuban sets the stage well.)
This was the first game of six on the road. And look what’s coming up: the Nuggets on Sunday, the Clippers on Tuesday, the Warriors on Wednesday, the Kings on Friday and the Lakers on the following Sunday. It’s gonna be a long month.