Kevin Durant couldn't keep his emotions in check.
He thought his big shot caused for a big celebration.
And after his 3-point bomb ripped through the net, giving his team a 15-point lead with 5:06 left on the game clock, the Oklahoma City Thunder's star looked toward his bench, put both hands in front of his waist and motioned as if he was fitting his hips with a championship belt.
Big shot. Big celebration. Big mistake.
It was that youthful exuberance that eventually became the Thunder's downfall.
While the Thunder's 20-somethings were busy celebrating, the cagey old Dallas Mavericks were busy chipping away. Ten minutes later, the Thunder found itself on the wrong end of a colossal collapse, dropping a 112-105 overtime decision on Monday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
With the win, the Mavs secured a 3-1 series lead, a hole that only eight of 200 teams have ever climbed out of.
“There's no doubt it was a tough loss,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks when asked about the mood of his locker room after the game. “If this loss did not hurt, there's no such thing as a loss that can hurt you.”
Durant refused to blame what happened here on youth. But, really, there is no other way to explain the events of Game 4. The Mavs didn't win this game. The Thunder lost it.
Oklahoma City scored six points in the final 10 minutes, 6 seconds. Following Durant's 3-pointer that put OKC ahead by its largest margin of the night, the Thunder missed eight of its final nine shots in regulation while turning it over twice. The Mavs simply worked their way to the foul line, making eight of 10 in the final five mintues, to complement their 4-for-5 shooting down the stretch.
Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki sent it to overtime with a pair of free throws with 6.4 seconds left to play. No play defined the Thunder's inexperience than the final shot of regulation.
After the Thunder inbounded the ball at halfcourt, Durant settled for an early 30-foot heave from the right wing. Dallas forward Shawn Marion blocked the attempt and the Mavs recovered with enough time to call a timeout with 0.7 seconds remaining.
“I didn't have anything else to do,” Durant explained.
Postgame Thoughts: What did you think?
Box Score: Thunder loses to Mavs 112-105