It had been mostly a second half to forget for Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant.
But in the final 3:10 Durant took control in every facet, and helped the Thunder to a 105-102 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs in front of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant hit a 3-pointer that put the Thunder ahead for the final time with 2:28 left, then dished to Thabo Sefolosha for a wide-open 3-pointer with 1:01 remaining to put the Thunder firmly back in control.
He also had a block and three assists in the final minutes.
“He’s really improved his playmaking,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “That’s one of the things he’s really worked on. He’s not a selfish player.”
Now the Thunder has a chance to end the series before returning to Oklahoma City.
The Thunder head to Houston up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.
Early in the fourth quarter, it looked like this one could wind up like Game 1, a Thunder blowout victory.
But down 15 with less than 10 minutes to go, the Rockets came back hard, reeling off a 21-2 run to take the lead before Durant took over.
Houston went to a zone defense late in the game and the Thunder struggled to react until Durant helped them regain control.
“When you play a team like the Thunder, you’ve got to try some different stuff,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.