Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook couldn’t throw it in the ocean and Dirk Nowitzki took over in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City still hung on to win 95-91, good for their 13th straight home win this season.
Nowitzki scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, all of which came off three-pointers. His final three put Dallas ahead 91-87 with 2:46 left in the game. The Mavericks wouldn’t score the rest of the game.
After a scrambled possession by Oklahoma City, James Harden found Westbrook on the right wing for a three-pointer to cut the Thunder deficit to a point with 2:24 to play.
With 46 seconds left, Durant drove by Jason Kidd and dished off in the paint to Serge Ibaka who drew a foul by Nowitzki and proceeded to hit both free throws to give Oklahoma City the lead.
The Thunder played great defense on the next possession shooting passing lanes and forcing Jason Terry to throw up a desperation jumper over Kendrick Perkins as the shot clock expired.
The Thunder made enough free throws the rest of the game to come away with the victory.
Durant shot 6-of-18 in the game and Westbrook 6-of-20. Harden was the key in the fourth as he scored 12 points in the first four minutes of the final quarter.
The Thunder have traditionally had turnover problems when playing Dallas but tonight turned it over 15 times compared to 12 for the Mavericks.
The Thunder held a huge advantage at the line going 29-for-33 from the stripe while Dallas only got there 10 times.
Oklahoma City really played great defense all night as Nowitzki was visibly frustrated for most of the game with the kind of physical contact he received. Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison did a solid job on Nowitzki as Ibaka made six blocks in the game.
It seemed like a game the Thunder really wanted to win from the start. Durant and Westbrook looked focused and were maybe too intense and not loose enough for the game. Dallas has Oklahoma City’s number in some regard despite the Thunder taking the season series this year winning three of the four matchups.
The Thunder can feel good after this one though. They definitely have exercised some demons beating the Mavericks tonight and weathering the Nowitzki hot streak from beyond the arc in the fourth.
Oklahoma City (30-8) will host Phoenix (17-20) Wednesday night for their next game.