Oh Canada! Durant's Heroics Lift Thunder To Improbable Victory
TORONTO, Canada - There are only so many different ways to describe how incredible Kevin Durant is at basketball.
North of the border on Friday night, Durant was once again at his best, nailing the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to give Oklahoma City a wild and improbable 119-118 double overtime win over the Toronto Raptors.
Durant's 3-pointer capped a 51-point, 12-rebound, seven-assist night, as well as a crazy final minute in the second overtime, where the Thunder trailed, 118-110 with 49 seconds left. Toronto didn't score again, as the Thunder benefited from a defensive stand and two missed free throws from John Salmons.
Reggie Jackson came off the bench to score 25 points and grab 12 rebounds. Serge Ibaka added 13 points for the Thunder.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 33 points while Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson had 25 points each. Greivis Vasquez scored 21 off the bench.
Durant's end-of-game heroics caused OKC to forget about the scary sight that occurred in the third quarter when Russell Westbrook left the game after bumping knees with Lowry. Westbrook scored 15 points in his 19 minutes of action.
Westbrook left the game with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter when he grabbed an offensive rebound and dribbled out to the 3-point line. Lowry jumped out on defense, and his knee crashed into Westbrook's right knee. It was in no way a malicious play, but Westbrook immediately asked the official to stop play and hobbled off down the court where he was surrounded by teammates and the team trainer.
Westbrook went straight to the locker room and didn't return. The Thunder classified the injury as a right knee sprain, but didn't elaborate or give a timetable for his return.
A terrible, but somehow competitive first half saw both teams shoot less than 35 percent en route to a 46-42 Toronto lead at the break. Oklahoma City shot 32.6 percent while the Raptors shot 34 percent. The two teams combined to shoot just 6-of-28 from behind the arc.
OKC led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter, and took a 96-93 lead on a Durant 3-pointer with 57 seconds remaining. Toronto tied the game with 17 seconds remaining on a Johnson putback, leaving OKC with the final shot to win. However, the Thunder didn't even get a shot off as Durant and Fisher miscommunicated on the final play.
In overtime, OKC once again held a lead, this time three points with 11 seconds remaining, thanks to four straight Jackson free throws. On the ensuing possession, Lowry buried a 3-pointer with seven seconds left to tie the score. OKC got two shots, one a deep 3-pointer from Jeremy Lamb and the other a desperation heave from Durant, but neither fell as the two teams moved to a second overtime.
The Raptors took command right out of the gate in the final five minutes, as they established a 114-109 lead halfway through the overtime period. Durant, despite his monster night, didn't attempt a shot until just over a minute remained, signaling the start of craziness once again.