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NBA -- Super Durant carries OKC over Dallas


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- Of all the superlatives that could have possibly described Kevin Durant's performance Thursday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, only a one-word acronym fits best -- MVP.

The wiry 6-foot-9, 235-pound small forward scored 40 points, gathered eight rebounds, dished five assists and blocked three shots as the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat a surpisingly combative Dallas Mavericks in overtime, 111-105.

Durant, a two-time NBA scoring champion and three-time All-Star, drilled 13 of 28 field goals, including 4-for-8 from 3-point territory. He was also perfect from the free throw line -- 10-for-10.

"They made some plays and we made some mistakes, but we were still right there." Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle told NBA.com.

Despite losing three in a row and six of their last nine entering Oklahoma, the Mavericks showed a lot of fight. They jumped to a 29-21 start and nursed an 89-79 advantage with 8:25 left to play in regulation. They just couldn't hold on as Durant and the Thunder mounted a furious comeback.

Darren Collison had 32 points for the Mavs, including a desperation 3 that sent the game into overtime. Chris Kaman tallied 17 points and eight rebounds while Shawn Marion contributed 14 and seven assists. Dirk Nowitzki, whose minutes are still being carefully monitored following his return from preseason knee surgery, had nine ponts and six rebounds and shot just 3-of-11 field goals.

Dallas sank 10-of-25 threes but fared poorly from the field, 40-of-95 (42.1 percent). The Mavs were outrebounded 56-46 and had one assist fewer than the Thunder's 22.

"That was a heck of a game. Both teams played with maximum effort, but obviously we have some things to work on as a team. But individually, I thought Serge (Ibaka) was phenomenal," OKC head coach Scott Brooks said.

Ibaka's praise-worthy effort came in the form of 19 points, a mammoth 17 rebounds and five blocks. Russell Westbrook also had 16 points and 10 assists for the Thunder while Kevin Martin, who has replaced James Harden as OKC's sixth man, came off the bench with 18.

In a night full of highlights, Durant took the cake. In one sensational stretch in the third quarter, KD blocked a Collison lay-up, grabbed the rebound, went coast-to-coast and finished the play with a thunderous a slam dunk in Dallas center Chris Kaman's face. Durant's dunk brought the fullhouse home crowd on its feet and pushed the Thunder to within 60-51 with 6:53 left in the period.

After a two game slide, the Thunder improved to 22-6, second overall in the NBA behind the streaking 23-6 Clippers who have won 15 straight. Dallas, meanwhile, dropped to 12-17 and out of the playoffs picture. (HDS)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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