Durant's Team Prevails In Overtime Exhibition Thriller In OKC

Sunday, October 23rd 2011, 10:59 pm
By: News 9

Grant Belcher, News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – Fans came to Sunday's exhibition game expecting a show, but they were also rewarded with a dose of legitimate basketball.

Kevin Durant's White team topped the Blue team in a 176-171 overtime thriller at the Cox Convention Center.

Durant said he was excited that players such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul got in on the opportunity to play some ball during the lockout.

"A lot of people came out and showed love," Durant said. "All the players that came out, they didn't have to. They sacrificed their time to play the game and we just wanted to show the fans that we still love them and that we continue to play the game no matter what."

While the first three quarters saw more than their share of dazzling dunks and goofing around, NBA players still hate to lose.

With a tight score midway through the fourth quarter, the turnovers stopped and the aggressive defense took over. Players took hard fouls and shot free throws.

With less than a minute remaining, Thunder players James Harden and Kevin Durant traded 3s to give the White squad a 161-159 advantage.

But Carmelo Anthony had the last laugh in regulation, putting in a layup with 13 seconds left to force OT.

In the extra period, Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jamal Crawford hit a hot streak for the White team, sealing the game in front of nearly 14,000 OKC fans.

Point Guard Chris Paul, who played in Oklahoma City for two years with the Hornets, said he loved the competitive spirit that came through from the charity game.

"I wanted to win," Paul said. "It's unbelievable because guys don't get paid to play in these games. Guys come out here because of how much respect they have for KD and what he does for the community and the kids."

Michael Beasley, a former friend and teammate of Durant before college, led all scorers with 56 points. Durant led the White squad with a ridiculous 42 points, 26 rebounds, 11-assist triple-double.

Westbrook added 34 points and 13 rebounds, while Chris Paul had a triple-double of his own with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 25 assists. LeBron James added a "quiet" 40.

Six players in the game topped the 30-point mark.

While fans enjoyed 53 minutes of fun and competitive basketball, it's still impossible to tell when they will get to watch an NBA game in Oklahoma City next.

Durant said after recent developments with the lockout negotiations, it's hard to tell whether there will be NBA basketball by Christmas.

"I'm glad everyone enjoyed themselves (at the exhibition game)," Durant said. "And hopefully we can get something going across the street there in Chesapeake Arena soon."

For more on the big game, the lockout and player interviews, check back on News9.com and Newson6.com over the next few days.