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OKC Thunder defeats Mavericks to take 3-0 series lead

After two strangely poor shooting nights in the opening games of this series, Kevin Durant regained his touch and carried the Thunder to a 95-79 blowout of the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 on Thursday night inside American Airlines Center.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 3, 2012

/articleid/3672332/1/pictures/1711320">Photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) goes to the basket between Dallas' Brendan Haywood (33) and Shawn Marion (0) during Game 3 of the first round in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Thursday, May 3, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) goes to the basket between Dallas' Brendan Haywood (33) and Shawn Marion (0) during Game 3 of the first round in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Thursday, May 3, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

He had 15 points in the first period, splashing in three 3-pointers, a smooth fadeaway and a sick step-back jumper to show he has indeed regained his rhythm.

“Kevin hasn't shot the ball well, but he's taken good shots,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “He hasn't forced shots and he got to the free throw line last game. But it was good to have a good start. He's earned it. He works as hard as anybody I've ever been around. You knew he was going to have a good shooting game sooner or later.”

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Durant simply was “jumping over us and hitting shots.”

The same stout defense that Dallas forward Shawn Marion had displayed in Games 1 and 2 was no match for Durant this time.

“Look, he's a great player,” Carlisle said of Durant. “He's the best scorer on the planet. And Marion did a phenomenal job for two games, and tonight Durant picked his level up a little bit and he was making some of those contested shots. What was he, 11-of-15? I mean that's a phenomenal shooting night in a game that their spreading the ball around quite a bit.”

With 4:54 left to play, Durant dropped in his final shot on a straightaway 3-pointer. It gave the Thunder a 26-point lead. It prompted Brooks to empty his bench.

And it quite possibly ripped the heart out of the defending champs and their die-hard fans down in Big D.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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