DALLAS — The Thunder still has 3,564 air miles remaining on the longest road trip in franchise history, and its players had to go the extra mile to win Friday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
It took a career-high 52 points from three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant for OKC to dispose of the Mavericks 117-114 in overtime.
The Thunder (32-8) pushes its winning streak to six games while Dallas (17-24) had its four-game winning streak snapped.
“It's much better to go on the flight to Denver with a tough win in overtime,” OKC coach Scott Brooks said shortly after midnight. “It's not a good flight if that's not the case.”
The Thunder is now 4-0 in overtime games this season while the Mavs drop to 1-8.
“It's just being together,” Brooks said of his team's overtime success. “We've been together for some time now. They have no choice other than to play with mental and physical toughness. Give our guys credit. I say that time and time again.”
Opponents frequently are frustrated trying to defend Durant, but there is nothing more helpless for opponents than to watch Durant shoot uncontested 15-footers at the free-throw line.
In two games this season, Durant is 31 for 31 against the Mavericks at the line.
Both games between OKC and Dallas this season have gone into overtime thanks to some last-second heroics from the Mavs at the end of regulation.
In a Dec. 27 meeting at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Mavs point guard Darren Collison hit a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation, but the Thunder dominated overtime for a 111-105 victory.
O.J. Mayo tied the game at 105 on a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in regulation on Friday.
Durant shot just 13 for 31 from the floor, but went 21 for 21 from the free-throw line and 5 for 9 from 3-point range. In the five-minute overtime period, he shot 3 for 4 from the floor and had nine points.