Thunder Blow Double Digit Lead In Fourth, Lose To Mavericks In O/T 112-105

With 5:05 remaining in the fourth quarter the Oklahoma City Thunder appeared to be on their way to knotting up the Western Conference Finals at 2-2 as they held a 15 point lead over the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas had other ideas as they shut down their opponents and increased their intensity on the offensive end of the floor tying the contest and sending it into overtime. The Mavericks would dominate the extra period and win the game 112-105. Dirk Nowitzki led the charge for Dallas with a game high 40 points for the night while Jason Terry came off the bench and had 20 points. Kevin Durant racked up a double-double as he knocked down 29 points for the Thunder in what may have been their final game of the season at the Oklahoma City Arena.

It would tough bouncing back in any NBA Playoff series trailing 3-1; especially after being swept at home by the other team. However losing this game in the manner that they did just may have broken the spirit of the team from Oklahoma City as well as giving the Mavericks the confidence that they can come back under any circumstances in this match-up. Monday night’s game was the Thunder’s to lose and they would go on to do exactly that and embarrassed themselves in the process.

Oklahoma City came out of the gates shooting and scoring in the opening period while Dallas looked tentative on both ends of the court. Nick Collison hit a basket with 46 seconds remaining and the Thunder held a healthy 31-22 advantage at the end of the quarter. The Mavericks found their shooting touch in the second and would pull to within three points of their hosts with 44 seconds left to play. That was as close as Dallas could get and as the two teams went to their locker rooms when the game reached the half they trailed 59-54.

The score would remain close between the two teams early in the third but the Thunder would pull ahead as Serge Ibaka sank a bucket with 1:43 left in the period putting his team on top 79-70. Dallas then went on a run of their own closing out the  quarter on a 7-2 run and Oklahoma City’s lead was a slim 81-77 margin at the end of the period.

The final 12 minutes of regulation were truly like a roller-coaster ride. The Thunder pulled away early in the fourth and with 5:05 to play Durant buried a trey putting his team on top 99-84. The Mavericks looked dead in the water and it seemed that the Conference Finals would soon be tied. However Dallas ended regulation outscoring their opponents 17-2 and the game was heading to overtime. The Mavericks held the Thunder to just four points in the extra period while they knocked down 11 and won the game handily.

Nowitzki had 40 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists for the night. Jason Terry came off the bench with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and an assist while Jason Kidd scored 17 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and had 4 steals.

Durant scored 29 points, 15 boards, 4 assists and 1 block in the loss. Russell Westbrook scored 19 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals while Serge Ibaka recorded a double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha each added 12 points in the loss for the Thunder. The series heads back to Dallas for what could the final game of this series. Game five will be played on Wednesday.

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