Durant rescued the Thunder from what was threatening to be a bad loss marred by an inexcusable lack of energy and effort.
For 2 1/2 quarters, the Thunder (29-16) all but watched the Wolves (10-35) have their way. Minnesota led by three after the first quarter and held a 56-54 edge at halftime behind 50 percent shooting. As if the defense wasn't bad enough, the Thunder fumbled the ball away throughout the first 24 minutes, turning it over 10 times.
Oklahoma City finally buckled down in the third period, holding Minnesota to 39 percent shooting while Durant was transforming into the “Durantula” to save the sluggish offense.
“We had about three bad stretches of basketball,” Brooks said. “But we somehow managed to stick together and continue to play together.”
Durant's sidekicks did their part.
Jeff Green, like he's done several times this season, delivered a clutch play when he swished a runner over three Wolves with 4.3 seconds remaining in regulation. The bucket forced overtime when Kevin Love (31 points, 21 rebounds) missed a baseline hook that fell into Durant's hands just before time expired in regulation. And with the Thunder clinging to a tenuous two-point lead with 1:30 left to play, Thabo Sefolosha and Collison came up with back-to-back blocks inside the paint to temporarily preserve the lead.
Michael Beasley tied it at 116 with 46.3 seconds left, but Durant answered with what proved to be the game-winning, step-back 18-footer with 28.3 seconds remaining. Wolves guard Corey Brewer could have tied with a pair of free throws with 7.6 seconds to go but missed the second foul shot, and Luke Ridnour was forced to double pump on a last-second 3-pointer that fell well short.
The final seconds trickled off the clock during the scrum for the rebound, and the Thunder moved to 4-0 in overtime and 17-6 in games decided by seven points or less.
“If it comes down (to the wire), we've been in situations like that before, so we have experience,” Durant said. “We're growing as a team and knowing what to do in those situations…We're going through this for a reason.”Box score