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Durant's 28 Points Lead Thunder Past Mavericks

(Sports Network) – Kevin Durant finished with a game-high 28 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder edged the Dallas Mavericks, 99-95, at American Airlines Center.

Jeff Green scored 16 to go along with nine rebounds and Russell Westbrook added 15 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who snapped a two-game skid. Serge Ibaka scored 13 in a reserve role for Oklahoma City.

“Guys really committed on improving after last game, or last few games,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “It takes effort from all guys for us to win.”

Shawn Marion led the Mavericks with 25 points. Jason Terry scored 19 and both Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson finished with 14 points for the Mavs, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.

Chandler grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds in the loss.

Dallas played without superstar Dirk Nowitzki, who missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right knee.

Up by three, 73-70, entering the fourth quarter, the Thunder advantage quickly rose to 10 with a Ibaka putback layup around the eight minute mark.

After Durant connected on a running dunk at 5:43 the Oklahoma lead was 89-78. Terry responded with a 5-0 run — three-point play and finger roll layup — to cut the deficit to 89-86. However, Oklahoma City quickly silenced the surge with a Ibaka layup and Durant jumper.

In the final minute, Stevenson trimmed the Thunder lead to 97-92 with a long three-pointer. Forced to foul, the Mavericks sent Durant to the line with 29.4 ticks remaining, but he made both.

Stevenson’s long three in the final seconds accounted for the final margin.

“It really was a tale of the first quarter versus the last three,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had a very good first quarter, with a seven point lead, then we lost the last three quarters.”

Marion led the charge with 12 points in the first quarter. The Mavericks shot 59.1 percent from the field en route to a 30-23 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Oklahoma City trimmed its deficit to 55-51 at the half after a back-and-forth second quarter, and capitalized on a poor shooting third quarter from the Mavericks, 5-of-16 from the field, to take a 73-70 lead into the final stanza.

Game Notes

Dallas won the two previous meetings this season…The Mavericks held a 47-45 rebounding advantage…Jose Barea scored 14 in a reserve role and Jason Kidd dished out 10 assists for Dallas.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.