OKC Thunder: Thunder puts it all on the line, the free-throw line
THUNDER 102, MAVERICKS 99: When Kevin Durant couldn't hit a shot from the field, the Thunder star got to the line enough to put Oklahoma City ahead 2-0 in the series.
Kevin Durant still couldn't find his shooting touch.
And this time, James Harden didn't have his, either.
So to maintain its home-court advantage over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, the Thunder had to find something — anything — that would generate some points when they were needed most.
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That something was free throws.
Oklahoma City defeated Dallas 102-99 in Game 2 on Monday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena only because it was able to march to the foul line and manufacture points when nothing else was working.
The Thunder went six-for-six at the line in the final 50.4 seconds to take a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series that now shifts to Dallas for Games 3 and 4.
If the first two games were any indication, the next two both could be tightly-contested battles that come down to the wire, which makes it a good thing the Thunder has a history of success at the stripe.
Both games in OKC were decided by a combined four points, and when the shots weren't falling in the fourth quarter Monday the charity stripe was the only thing the Thunder could rely on.
Durant scored 26 points but made just 5-of-17 shots and had just one assist against a game-high seven turnovers to complete a second consecutive all-around subpar night offensively. But the three-time scoring champ shot a game-high 16 free throws, making 14 to help keep the Thunder in command of this series.
Durant split a pair of foul shots to tie the score at 86-all with 6:57 left to play and later put the Thunder ahead for good via two freebies with 50.4 seconds remaining. Durant's last two attempts came after he was shoved out of bounds by Mavs guard Jason Terry after catching an inbounds pass with 1.5 seconds remaining on the shot clock.
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