After yet another physical game that ultimately resulted in a double-digit win for OKC, the Thunder now holds a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Mavericks with a 119-108 win in Game 4.
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In a series where both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had their share of shining moments, it was Enes Kanter who stole the spotlight on Saturday night.
OKC held a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but it was obvious that it would take a lot to counteract a Mavericks’ team that was hitting full stride as the game wore on. Fortunately the Thunder could turn to its offensive-minded center.
Kanter got the quarter rolling with a pair of free throws, and then put back a couple of OKC misses to hold off the surging Mavericks, who were playing with desperation seeing their chances of pulling off the upset were beginning to slip away as the clock continued to click.
After Nowitzki drained a jumper to bring the Mavericks back within 10 points, Westbrook connected with Kanter for an and-1 layup to put OKC up 13 points, and after Dallas once again clawed back, Westbrook went back to his reliable post presence for another slashing layup. In fact, Westbrook went on to connect with Kanter on OKC’s next two buckets as the Turkish big man scored 16 of OKC’s 30 fourth quarter points.
Kanter up to 23pts AND WORTH EVER PENNY! #News9Thunder— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) April 24, 2016
Kanter up to 23pts AND WORTH EVER PENNY! #News9Thunder
While Kanter played the role of closer for the Thunder in the final frame, he had plenty of other comrades who helped him along the way. Westbrook was the star of the third quarter, he led a 9-to-2 run in which the menacing point guard either scored or assisted on all of OKC’s points during that stretch. The former UCLA Bruin used his incredible athleticism to overwhelm the Dallas defense, which really had no answer for his playmaking ability. Westbrook finished with 25 points and 15 assists.
Russell Westbrook is 1st player to record back-to-back playoff games w/ 25+ Pts & 15+ Ast since Isiah Thomas (1985). pic.twitter.com/UgmTENOz6q— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 24, 2016
Russell Westbrook is 1st player to record back-to-back playoff games w/ 25+ Pts & 15+ Ast since Isiah Thomas (1985). pic.twitter.com/UgmTENOz6q
It was a total team effort for OKC, as Dion Waiters had another huge game off the bench.
Waiters was a major force in setting the tone for the Thunder, as he checked into the game and immediately began making plays. Waiters scored a pair of layups on back-to-back OKC possessions, and then assisted a Randy Foye corner 3-pointer that really showed the growth of Waiters’ skill set. While it was an impressive stretch, he wasn’t done. Waiters then gave the Thunder a 15-point lead through one quarter after making a contested layup while getting fouled by J.J. Barea.
Overall, OKC shot 53 percent from the field in the game while making 7-of-16 shots from behind the arc. Along with the scoring differential, OKC also won the rebound battle 42-33 while doubling (34-17) the Mavericks’ free throw attempts.
Kevin Durant finished with 19 points, four rebound and four assists, but was ejected late in the game after getting whistled for a questionable flagrant 2 foul against Justin Anderson. It appeared Durant swiped at the ball, but instead hit Anderson across the head after the rookie lowered the positioning of the basketball while attempting a layup.
Durant's flagrant foul wasn't the only chippy play throughout the game, as Westbrook and Salah Mejri had to be separated a couple of times throughout the game while both received technical fouls. There was also a heated conversation between Serge Ibaka and Dirk Nowitzki that was quickly diffused.
Along with Kanter, who scored 28 points and grabbed six rebounds, the rest of OKC’s post players had great games as well. Ibaka scored 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting while Steven Adams added 14 points and eight rebounds. OKC never trailed in these last two games played in Dallas.
Dirk checks out, so OKC never trailed in two games down here in Dallas. #News9Thunder— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) April 24, 2016
Dirk checks out, so OKC never trailed in two games down here in Dallas. #News9Thunder
Nowitzki had an incredible game for Dallas, scoring 27 points and grabbing eight rebounds, while Raymond Felton and Wesley Matthews each added 19 points. Salah Mejri was a force off the Dallas’ bench with six points, four rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Thunder will look to close out the series on Monday night at 7 p.m. in Oklahoma City.