“All Nate Robinson and Royal Ivey were saying was, ‘Go take the game over. It's your time.' I just tried to seize the moment and take advantage of it.”
Durant grew more confident by the second. You could see his stride stretch and the pep in his step swelling. He hit a step-back jumper from the right wing over Wilson Chandler and lightly shook his head as if he knew no Nugget could guard him any longer. It tied the game at 93 with 1:21 remaining.
Ten seconds after a pair of foul shots by Ty Lawson that put Denver back ahead by two, Durant hit a floater while getting fouled. He fell to the floor following the basket and flexed his muscles as hard as he could. When he stood, he sank the foul shot to give the Thunder a one-point lead.
Raymond Felton made two free throws to give the Nuggets a one-point lead with 54.7 seconds left and Durant answered by working his way to the foul line at the other end. He made both foul shots to give the Thunder the lead once more.
After Nuggets center Nene had a shot at the rim blocked by Serge Ibaka, Durant put the finishing touches on the win. Durant broke free from Chandler near halfcourt and took a pass from Harden with five seconds left on the shot clock. Durant took one dribble, pulled up just beyond the free-throw line and drilled a jumper over Nene that gave the Thunder a three-point cushion with 12 seconds remaining.
“I made a Randy Moss cutback move,” Durant said of freeing himself for the final shot after being held and tugged out of last-second situations all series. “I didn't want him to get a hand on the basketball and maybe get a tip or have to run a seconds off and get a bad shot. So I kind of faked him one way and went the other. I used my football skills and was able to get it going.”
Durant then swatted a 3-point attempt by J.R. Smith with nine seconds left, proving once again in the playoffs that he has grown into more than a one-dimensional player.
Now, the Thunder has another series to show off just how far it has grown as a team.
And unlike last season, when the crowd showered the Thunder with applause following a series-ending Game 6 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the show of support that played out Wednesday night was all about magnificent feeling of marching on.
“Our crowd really won the game for us,” Durant said. “They really pulled us through when we were down eight points in those final minutes.”
Durant wasn't bad, either.
Game 5 Photo Gallery
Postgame Thoughts: What did you think?
Box Score: Thunder advances to second round of playoffs