Thunder 117, Mavericks 114 (OT)
Leftover observations from the Thunderâ€™s 117-114 overtime victory Friday night over the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center:
- Three-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant scored a career-high 52 on Friday night at AAC. Dirk Nowitzki scored 48 in Game One of the Western Conference Finals in the same building. Got to admit, Dirkâ€™s outing was significantly better.
- Durant shot 21 for 21 from the free-throw line and 5 for 9 from 3-point range, but just 13 for 31 from the field. Good thing he went 3 for 4 in overtime. Meanwhile, Nowitzki went 24 for 24 at the line and 12 for 15 from the field. Scoring 48 points on 15 field-goal attempts is ridiculous. Nowitzkiâ€™s effort was calculated as the most efficient shooting performance in NBA playoff history.
- After Durant drained a first-quarter shot maneuvering through the lane, a scout seated at press row told Oklahoma media: â€śYou guys are spoiled getting to watch him.â€ť True dat.
- Some of the more printable quotes about Durant from fans seated directly behind press row at AAC. â€śAre you kidding me?â€ť â€śUnbelievableâ€ť â€śEven his misses look good.â€ť â€śMan, he gets every call. Dirk doesnâ€™t get that many calls.â€ť â€śSon of a (bleep).â€ť
- Durant overcame 2-for-11 shooting in the fourth quarter, during which the Mavs outscored OKC 33-24 to force overtime. â€śI was upset with myself in the fourth quarter,â€ť Durant said. â€śI missed so many shots, and I wasnâ€™t taking it to the rim. I wasnâ€™t putting pressure on the defense, so I was just trying to make up for it in overtime. So, I just kept fighting and kept believing in myself. My teammates gave me confidence. Itâ€™s more about the win for me. I was excited at the way we played.â€ť
- Dallas coach Rick Carlisle on defending Durant: â€śThere are some things that we obviously could have done to limit him. â€¦ He had a great game and he is the best shooter on the planet.â€ť
- Could an opponent feel any more helpless than when Durant is at the free-throw line? When you include the Thunderâ€™s overtime victory over the Mavs on Dec. 27, Durant is a combined 31 for 31 from the line against Dallas this season.
- Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored 31 points and also had six rebounds and a team-high six assists. It was his third straight game with 30-plus points. If Durant wasnâ€™t going bananas, much more would be written about Westbrook.
- The Thunder shot 54.5 percent from the floor en route to a 30-22 lead in the first quarter and didnâ€™t break 50 percent again until the overtime period, when it shot 57.1 percent.
- Two games with two game-tying 3-pointers by Dallas in the closing seconds of regulation have resulted in two losses for the Mavericks, who are now 1-8 in overtime games this season. OKC is 4-0 in OT.
- Durant on being named an All-Star starter for the third year in a row: â€śIt never gets old. You canâ€™t take something like that for granted, no matter what. Growing up, I remember when I was in seventh grade the game was in Washington D.C. I just wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to sit on the front row and watch the dunk contest. I wanted to play in the game.â€ť
- Thunder coach Scott Brooks on Durantâ€™s All-Star status: â€śHeâ€™s one of the best players in the game and itâ€™s great that the fans have acknowledged that also. Heâ€™s everything (thatâ€™s) right about the NBA.â€ť
- Sixth man Kevin Martin is a great guy who has been a great addition for the Thunder. He has stepped in admirably replacing James Harden, but K-Martâ€™s shot has been road kill this season. At Chesapeake Energy Arena, he is averaging 16.9 points while shooting 48.1 percent from the field, 50.5 percent on 3-pointers and 92.5 percent at the free-throw line. Everywhere else, he is averaging 11.7 points while shooting 37.8 percent from the field, 32.2 percent on 3-pointers and 89.8 percent at the line.
- Brooks said he hasnâ€™t noticed Martinâ€™s road woes. â€śNo I havenâ€™t, and Iâ€™m not going to tell him that, either,â€ť Brooks said. â€śI know we need his activity, his points off the bench, his playmaking, his ability to draw defenses towards him because everybody knows heâ€™s been one of the best scorers from that position for a lot of years. Even when he doesnâ€™t score, he attracts attention (from defenders).â€ť
- It remains to be seen who will coach the Western Conference in the 62nd NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 17 in Houston, but it wonâ€™t be Brooks. Coaches are not allowed to be the All-Star coach in consecutive seasons and Brooks coached the West to a 152-149 victory last year in Orlando. The cutoff date is Feb. 3. The coach with the best record in his conference will coach the All-Star team.
- The no-repeat rule prevents a potential homecoming of sorts for Brooks, who played 2Â˝ seasons with the Houston Rockets (1992-95) and won the 1994 NBA title. â€śDo they still like me there?â€ť Brooks joked. â€ś(Coaching last year) was pretty cool, just to meet some of the players and see how they are off the court. â€¦ It was fun being around the guys. Itâ€™s an honor.â€ť
- Appearing Thursday on the Dan Patrick Show, Durant sheepishly admitted he wanted to play for the Toronto Raptors because he liked their uniforms and he was a huge Vince Carter fan. On Friday night, Durant defended Carter and they frequently chatted during stoppages in play. Carter then went off for 29 points â€” his most with the Mavericks â€” shooting 10 for 17 from the field.
- The Thunder is now 3-2 in its navy blue â€śalternateâ€ť uniforms, and snapped a two-game losing streak from previous stops at Minnesota and at Washington.
- OKC supposedly is the most athletic team in the league, yet the makeshift Mavericks outscored the Thunder 17-8 on fast-break points.
- There were 11 lead changes and 10 ties. The Thunderâ€™s biggest lead was 14 and the Mavsâ€™ was four.
- OKC tied a season-high with 18 offensive rebounds, which helps explain why OKC outscored Dallas 25-11 in second-chance points.
- Next Up: The Thunder plays at Denver on Sunday at 7 p.m. Because of Fridayâ€™s overtime effort, Brooks cancelled Saturdayâ€™s scheduled practice at the Pepsi Center.
- John Rohde
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