DALLAS — Kevin Durant crouched down on the NBA Playoffs logo on the American Airlines Center floor, unable to walk any further.
As the Mavericks' celebration swirled around him, the Thunder superstar didn't move. The end had come, and the reality hit hard.
Dallas 100, Oklahoma City 96.
“We wanted this game to be a tough physical game, and it was,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We battled the whole 48 minutes, but we came up short.”
The Mavs won the NBA Western Conference Finals, besting the Thunder in five games.
Two nights after blowing a 15-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in Game 4, the Thunder took a seven-point lead with a little under six minutes left. But when the Mavs scored seven of the next nine points, all of them from the free-throw line, it sparked a 17-6 run that sunk the Thunder.
The disappointment of Game 4 didn't carry over to Game 5, but the inability to finish did.
“We're not ashamed at how we played,” Brooks said. “We fought through every game (in this playoff series). I knew our guys would leave everything on the floor. That's how they're wired. That's how they're built.”
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said, “Oklahoma City is a great young team. They played with unbelievable fight and spirit. All the games I've been involved with ... this was the hardest.