Too many times in the past, Durant has settled. The script is an all-too familiar one. The clock is running low. Durant catches an inbounds pass. He takes a few dribbles out beyond the arc. And he launches a 27-foot prayer as a potential game-winner.
But this time, Durant made the right decision at the most critical time.
“There's at times a tendency to take a 3 when it's not needed,” Brooks said. “But I like the fact he drove to the basket and got to a place where he can pull up above the defender. And if the shot wasn't going in, I thought Serge (Ibaka) had the perfect position for the tip. That's another growth with our team. Just knowing the little things. Sometimes it takes some time.”
As Durant continues to figure it out, there appears to be fewer things the aging Mavericks can throw his way.
“The only other thing we could have done,” said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, “was double team him and get the ball out of his hands. And we should have done that.”
But how were the Mavs supposed to know Durant would deliver?
Prior to his dagger, Durant was just 9-of-26 from the floor. He had struggled so much that no one could be sure if Durant would simply be a decoy while the final play went elsewhere.
But Durant remained confident.
“I feel confident in myself because I was getting good looks,” Durant said. “Some of them rimmed in and out.”
And this is the playoffs. And on this night, Durant wouldn't be denied.
“No matter how you do it,” Durant said, “you've got to get it done.”