A night that started so well for Kevin Durant ended with Eric Maynor lifting the Thunder superstar's crumpled body from the Oklahoma City Arena court.
His team's fate sealed in the final seconds of overtime, Durant could not hide his disappointment. His shoulders slumped. His head hung.
This one inflicted a deep wound.
Dallas 112, OKC 105.
On a night the Mavs took a commanding 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals, overcoming a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit and winning in overtime, the Thunder got the best and the worst from Durant. His 29-point, 15-rebound performance was almost a triple-double. Had he committed one more turnover, he would've had it.
Yep, Durant had nine turnovers.
Durant sat in his postgame conference, hand on his head, looking as down as he had in the final moments of overtime.
“I feel upset because I let them down,” he said of the Thunder faithful. “I let the city down.”
Who imagined Durant would be saying that when this night began?
After an abysmal start Saturday night, the Thunder hit its first nine shots Monday night. It went nearly five minutes without a miss. It had everything going.
No one was more locked in than Durant. He hit five baskets during that early flurry, one better than he made all of Saturday night.
“Early on, I was getting the ball where I wanted to and they were just playing straight-up defense,” Durant said.
Then, the double teams came.
Then, the triple teams.
He had passes tipped and stolen. He was called for offensive fouls. He went for his signature rip move, only to hear no whistle and turn over the ball.
At one point, Durant walked to the bench, asking for a conference with Thunder coach Scott Brooks but really wanting a sympathetic ear. Where were the calls? Where were the whistles?
“You let them worry about the fouls,” Brooks said of the officials.
But clearly, Durant was frustrated, miffed at who knows what. The officials? The defenders?
“He's just one of those guys that needs the constant attention,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
And the Mavs gave it to Durant, primarily courtesy of Shawn Marion.
“Durant needs to be wearing him,” Carlisle said.
He was much of Monday night. Marion stuck to Durant like static cling on a winter sweater, but as good as that one-on-one defense was, it was the Mavericks' team defense that made the difference against Durant.
On the biggest play of the series, the final play of regulation, Durant caught the ball at halfcourt, but when he looked toward the basket, he saw three Mavs coming at him.
So, he shot from at least 8 feet behind the three-point line.
“I didn't know what else to do,” he said, the frustration obvious in his voice. “I didn't want to run into their defense and get another turnover.”
Instead, Marion blocked the shot, and even though there was overtime left to play, the Thunder was sunk.
“You know, late in the game, it's my time,” Durant said, unmoving with his fist planted on his temple. “And a few of those times, it was just too clogged up.”
Durant scored 14 points in the first quarter but then managed only 15 points the rest of the game.
He had none in overtime.
His mission now?
“Try to bring it back here to OKC,” he said flatly.
Who knows whether that will happen? Dallas is surging. Oklahoma City is reeling.
But know this — this game wounded Durant. Cut him deep. Hurt him bad.
There will come a day when that wound will become a scar.
There will also come a day when that scar will be motivation to make amends for what happened in Game 4, to never feel again the disappointment that he felt at the end of Monday night.