The Oklahoma City Thunder came back from a 22 point deficit in the third quarter to trail the Dallas Mavericks by just four points with 24 seconds left to play Saturday night but they could not get any closer as the Mavericks held on to win game three of the Western Conference Finals by a final score of 93-87. The victory in the first game in the series played at the Oklahoma City Arena gives Dallas a 2-1 lead in the best of seven games match-up. The Mavericks dominated the court for early in the game but the Thunder started getting back into the contest in the latter stages of the third.
Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion each had 18 points for the night to lead the Mavericks. Russell Westbrook knocked down 30 points while Kevin Durant racked up a double-double as he added 24 points for Oklahoma City but they would be the only two players on the team to score in double figures. The Thunder shot just 36.5% (27-74) from the floor and went 1-17 from outside the arc for the night.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle had criticized his team in the media for their less than stellar play in the first two games of the series and it seemed to have lit a fire under his players in the opening period. The visitors would shoot the lights out while shutting down their opponents resulting in the Mavericks leading 27-12 at the end of the quarter. It appeared that they had the contest well in hand as they left the court when the game reached the half on top 52-36.
With 8:42 remaining in the third Marion drove the lane putting the rock in the hole and the Mavericks appeared ready to run away with the game holding a 58-36 advantage. However the Dallas offense would get stuck in neutral and the Thunder would start to dig themselves out of their hole by the end of the period trailing 70-56. The home team would explode for 31 points in the final 12 minutes of play cutting their deficit to 89-85 as Durant hit a shot with 24 seconds left in the game. However they would run out of time and energy as the Mavericks held on for the win.
Nowitzki scored 18 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist while Marion also put up 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals and an assist. Jason Kidd added 13 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds and four steals while Jason Terry came off the bench with 13 points, 6 assists and 1 rebound.
Westbrook had a game high 30 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals for the night. Durant would score 24 points, grab 12 boards, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 2 rebounds in the loss. The two teams will meet again in Oklahoma City Monday night for game four of the series.