Denied At The Buzzer: Thunder Slips Up Against Injury-Plagued Mavericks

Monday, April 18th 2016, 11:42 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

After a season filled with late-game miscues, the Thunder suffered its toughest loss of the year when the lights shined brightest. Steven Adams would be game-winner at the buzzer at the buzzer was ruled no good, as Dallas picked up an 85-84 win and evened the series at 1-1.

With Dallas clinging onto a one-point lead with seven seconds left, point guard Raymond Felton stood at the free-throw line with a chance to put the Mavericks up by three points by draining both of his shots from the charity stripe. But instead of completing one of the must clutch finishes of his career, Felton rimmed out both free-throws, giving the Thunder one last chance to win the game.

Kevin Durant corralled the rebound and passed the rock to a sprinting Westbrook as the clock was ticking down. Westbrook surged to the middle of the lane, but instead of taking the forced shot, Westbrook deferred to Durant, who streaked down the right side of the court towards the basket.

But then on the worst shooting night of his postseason career, Durant missed the most important shot of the game, as his layup with three seconds left bounced off the rim and was tipped into the hands of Steven Adams. But instead of quickly tipping the ball in on contact, Adams grabbed the ball before making a put-back layup, and the referee waved off Adam’s shot after reviewing the play on the monitor.

Mavericks win.

It was a shocking outcome for the ruckus crowd inside of Chesapeake Energy Arena, especially the group of Thunder players who celebrated what they thought was a win before Adams shot was ultimately ruled no good.   

For the league-leading 15th time this season, the Thunder blew a fourth quarter lead. Serge Ibaka drained a corner 3-pointer to put the Thunder up seven points with 6:43 left in the game, but Dallas ripped off a 10-to-2 run that was capped off by a wide-open shot at the top of the key by Felton.

Durant shot a horrid 7-for-33 from the field and only made 2-of-11 3-pointers. While Durant struggled, he shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame. The Mavericks did a tremendous job of blanketing Durant while mucking up the game and truly slowing it down. Not to mention OKC’s defense was lackadaisical more than a few times.

Westbrook finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, but only totaled six assists, which is four less than he averaged throughout the regular season. Ibaka added 12 points and eight rebounds, but no other Thunder player managed to score in double-digits as the bench only totaled 21 points.

Felton led the Mavericks with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Dirk Nowitzki hit an array of tough shots throughout the game and finished with 17 points.

The series now moves to Dallas for Game 3 with tip set for 6 p.m. on TNT.