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OKC Thunder: Good start leads to a big victory

Before a sellout crowd of 20,640 on Thursday night in Game 3 at American Airlines Center, the Thunder jumped to a 28-13 lead ... and cruised to a 95-79 victory.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: May 4, 2012

DALLAS – Getting off to good start doesn't always result in victory, but it sure beats the alternative.

Poor starts were a common denominator in the Thunder's 4-1 playoff series loss to the Dallas Mavericks in last year's Western Conference Finals.

OKC began this year's first-round series against the Mavericks by falling behind early in Game 1 before slowly recovering for a 99-98 victory on a game-winning 15-footer from Kevin Durant.

Before a sellout crowd 20,640 on Thursday night in Game 3 at American Airlines Center, the Thunder jumped out to a 28-13 lead, eventually pushed the lead to 26 on two occasions and cruised to a 95-79 victory despite being outscored 10-0 to end the game.

The wire-to-wire romp gives OKC a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series that continues with Game 4 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in AAC.

The first quarter was a frantic display that included hot shooting from a previously ice-cold Kevin Durant – who had 15 points, shooting 5 for 7 from the field and 3 for 4 from 3-point range – and Serge Ibaka, who went 3 for 3 for six points.

There also were two technical fouls called by official Marc Davis. One was against Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki and the other against Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who stormed onto the court in protest for the second straight game.

“There were some distractions there,” Carlisle admitted. “Look, there's been some frustrations with the officials, but we're not going to make it about the officials.

“It's a long game, and I thought we came out of that well and got it to six (32-26) at the end of the first.”

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