For the first 47 minutes, Sunday night's US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational hosted by Kevin Durant was an NBA exhibition game during which little defense was exhibited.
In the 48th minute, however, the crowd rose to its feet, and a lighthearted competition suddenly turned serious.
A closing flurry in regulation forced overtime, and the end result was Durant's White Team posting a 176-171 victory over the Blue Team before a near-sellout crowd of 13,000 inside the Cox Convention Center.
Though the NBA lockout was in Day 115, on this night there were no catcalls directed toward players. Fans screamed for autographs. Cellphone cameras were all the rage. No one left early and the players left to a standing ovation.
“I knew this was going to be a hit, especially here in Oklahoma City,” Durant said. “I was excited I got this opportunity to do it. A lot of people came out and showed love. All the players who came here didn't have to. They sacrificed their time to come play the game. We just wanted to show the fans we still love them and we still continue to play the game no matter what.
“I was happy with the turnout.”
The final sequence of regulation involved all three Thunder participants.
With 54.3 seconds left, James Harden buried a 3-pointer with the shot clock at :02 to give the Blue a 159-158 advantage.
With 33.0 seconds left, Russell Westbrook snared an offensive rebound and passed back out to Durant, who drilled a 3-pointer with 30.4 seconds left to give the White a 161-159 advantage.
With 13.1 seconds left, Carmelo Anthony hit a reverse layup against LeBron James to tie the score at 161.
With 0.7 seconds left, Durant missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer and former Thunder forward Jeff Green missed an acrobatic follow-up slam at the buzzer.
Durant finished with a triple-double for the White with 42 points, 26 rebounds and 11 assists. James had 40 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Westbrook had 34 points, 13 rebounds and eight high-flying dunks. Green had 21 points and eight assists. LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
“It felt like it was a real NBA game,” Durant said. “The players played hard and we enjoyed ourselves.”
Continue reading this story on the...
WHITE TEAM 176
BLUE TEAM 171
Percentages: FG .533, FT .813. 3-Point Goals: 14-41, .341 (Anthony 5-9, Harden 6-17, Wilkins 1-3, Paul 2-7, Beasley 0-2, Flynn 0-3). Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 9 (Paul 4, Anthony 2, Flynn 2). Steals: 10 (Paul 3, Flynn 2, Harden 2, Beasley 2, Anthony 1).