OKLAHOMA CITY —
The Oklahoma City Thunder took a 2-0 lead in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, beating the Dallas Mavericks in another close game, which came down to the last possession.
The Thunder earned a 102-99 victory, withstanding a couple of late three-point attempts by Jason Terry that could have tied the game. James Harden made four free throws in the last 25 seconds to keep the lead.
Harden finished the game with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Russell Westbrook again led the Thunder in scoring, putting in 29 points on 10-for-21 shooting. Kevin Durant struggled from the field, shooting 5-for-17 but getting to the free throw line 16 times, converting 14 of them.
“As far as my shooting, I’ve missed some shots that, of course, I would love to make,” Durant said. “But I’ve got faith in myself, and faith in my hard work, and I’m always going to stay positive.”
Westbrook made a point to mention that Durant found other ways to contribute, despite not shooting a high percentage.
“He’s going to stay aggressive, and continue to keep us in games,” Westbrook said. “He does other things. He had ten rebounds tonight. Nobody’s mentioned that...everything is going to be alright.”
Kendrick Perkins scored seven points in the first quarter and finished with 13 points in the game. Perkins sparked the Oklahoma City offensive attack in the beginning of the game.
“He was on pace for 48,” Brooks joked after the game. “He was going to break Dirk’s playoff record against us. Perk gives us everything he has. I never look at the stat sheet; I look at what he brings. He brings toughness, a physical presence and a defensive mentality.”
Derek Fisher played one of his best games as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, scoring 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting in 24 minutes of play.