MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 19, 2013

Durant sets career mark as Thunder topple Mavs in OT


Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Kevin Durant scored a career-high 52 points, including the go-ahead basket with 16.5 seconds left in overtime, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off a Dallas Mavericks rally for a 117-114 victory Friday night.

The Thunder, who won their sixth straight, snapped a season-high four-game winning streak for the Mavericks. It was Oklahoma City's second overtime win against Dallas this season.

Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo forced overtime by hitting a 3-pointer with two defenders in his face with 2.3 seconds left in regulation.

Mike James had put Dallas ahead with a 3 pointer in overtime, but his shot from well behind the arc in the final seconds of the extra period fell short.

Russell Westbrook, who scored 31, missed a free throw to give the Mavericks one more chance to tie, but Vince Carter's desperation 3 at the buzzer was short.

Carter led Dallas with a season-high 29 points.

Durant was 13 of 31 from the field and made all 21 free throws in the first 50-point game for an NBA player this season. The Thunder hit 12 freebies in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough as Mayo hit the tying 3 after two free throws by Westbrook with 5.9 seconds left.

The Thunder blew a 14-point second-half lead and almost lost for the first time in 28 games when leading after three quarters.

Durant put Oklahoma City ahead 99-98 on a pair of free throws after he was fouled on a drive with 1:32 left. He hit two more after he was fouled following a rebound of a miss by Dirk Nowitzki, and Oklahoma City kept the lead until Mayo's tying 3-pointer.

Dallas had its first chance to tie in the final 15 seconds when Carter went for a dunk and a one-point deficit instead. After Westbrook hit two free throws, Mayo hit the 3-pointer with two defenders jumping at him.

Durant missed a jumper just inside the 3-point line at the regulation buzzer.

The Mavericks, who earlier this season tied an NBA record with their 10th straight overtime loss, fell to 1-8 in overtime games this season.

Nowitzki finished with 18 points after starting 1 of 11 from the field. He scored 12 in the fourth quarter, salvaging his 10th straight double-figure game after scoring in single digits the first four games following his return from missing 27 games after right knee surgery.

The Mavericks trailed 87-79 when Carter hit a free throw and Nowitzki had a tip-in to start a 13-2 run that gave Dallas its first lead since the first quarter. Nowitzki's free throws gave the Mavericks the lead at 90-89 with 6:41 left.

Neither team led by more than three in the final 6 minutes of regulation and overtime.

The Mavericks were within 78-72 when Mayo stole a pass from Durant but missed a layup in the final seconds of the third quarter. Durant quickly had the ball back in his hands and hit a 3-pointer for an 81-72 lead with 2.8 seconds left.