Durant, Westbrook Power OKC Past Dallas
DALLAS - Russell Westbrook was a one-man wrecking crew for three back-and-forth quarters against the Dallas Mavericks. But in the fourth quarter, it was Kevin Durant who put the Mavericks away for good.
If anyone was still looking for evidence as to whether or not this is the league's most dynamic duo, Sunday night's performance was as good an indicator as any to their dominance.
Westbrook had 31 of his 35 points through three and had provided all of the energy and impact plays to keep Oklahoma City atop the scoreboard heading into the final period. Then KD flipped the script, scoring 19 of his 31 points in the fourth to propel the Thunder to a 107-101 victory on the road against a resurgent Mavericks' squad.
Westbrook scored 16 points and KD added 12 as OKC built a 50-49 halftime advantage but Durant couldn't get anything going in the third, so No. 0 responded by scoring 13 points in the third quarter alone and Serge Ibaka added the other 10 Thunder points of the period to carry the one-point advantage into the fourth.
After a pair of Dirk Nowitzki free throws knotted the game up at 101 with 1:20 remaining in the contest, Westbrook calmly rose and fired in a 17-foot jumper to put OKC back up. On the ensuing possession, Westbrook and Durant harassed Nowitzki and Mike James as the shot clock wound down; James tried to make a push but KD rose up and swatted the shot away with 36 seconds left.
After the clutch players from the Thunder stars, a baseline fadeaway by Thabo Sefolosha over O.J. Mayo with 12 seconds left sent Dallas fans toward the exits with a loss for the 10th-straight time against OKC.
Westbrook not only scored a game-high 35, but he also did it efficiently on 13-of-23 shooting and a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He also chipped in six rebounds, six assists and three highlight-reel dunks.
Durant shot 10-of-19 for his 31 points and also connected on 9-of-9 from the free-throw line. KD had nine boards, two steals and two blocks.
Serge Ibaka was the only other Thunder player in double figures with 18 points and a whopping 16 rebounds.
Nowitzki led the Mavs with 23 points, while Vince Carter added 18 off the bench.
The Thunder secured the four-game season sweep of Dallas with the win and has won eight of its past nine overall. As a result, OKC (50-17) is now one game out of the No. 1 spot in the West behind San Antonio.
Oklahoma City returns to the floor on Tuesday when it hosts division rival Denver at 7 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.