By Randy Renner, for NBA.com
THE FACTS: For the second time this season, Kevin Durant threw a dagger into the heart of the Dallas Mavericks, this time a jumper from the top of the circle that rattled home with 1.5 seconds left, to give the Oklahoma City Thunder a thrilling 99-98 come-from-behind win. Durant finished with 25 points on 27 shots. He was just 1-for-6 on 3-pointers. But the three-time All-Star also grabbed six rebounds, blocked four shots and handed out four assists. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 28 points on 13-for-23 shooting and Serge Ibaka tied a career high with 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting. Ibaka also blocked five shots. James Harden looked sharp in his first game back after being out with a concussion. He scored 19 on 4-for-7 but turned the ball over five times.
The Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki's 25 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter. The Mavs also had big nights from Jason Terry (20 points on 8-for-10 shooting) and Shawn Marion (17). Terry was 8-for-9 through three quarters but was only able to take one shot in the decisive fourth quarter and he missed that one.
Earlier in the season, Durant drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Oklahoma City a win over Dallas. This time the stakes were much higher, Game 1 of the NBA playoffs. Durant's game-winning shot capped a Thunder rally in the last three minutes of the game, bringing Oklahoma City back from seven points down with just 2:20 to go. The Thunder finished the game with a 12-4 run.
QUOTABLE: "A lot of things didn't go well for us early but our team stuck together. We got down seven with three minutes left and had to play near perfect and we did. On the last shot I liked the fact that he [Durant] drove to the basket and then pulled up. Great players make tough shots."
-- Thunder coach Scott Brooks
QUOTABLE II: "At the end we wanted [Shawn] Marion guarding him [Durant] and he made a tough shot. The other option was to double-team him and obviously that's what we should have done so that's on me. But we're gonna keep comin' at these guys, we just didn't get it done tonight. We're gonna come out guns blazin' every game."
-- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle
QUOTABLE III: "Coach [Brooks] drew it up for me to come off the screen and get it close to the baseline. We knew they were going to switch it up...I didn't wanna settle for a three so I got it closer and shoot a shot. I got enough arc on it to go in."
-- Thunder forward Kevin Durant on his game-winning shot
THE STAT: In the fourth quarter, OKC outscored Dallas 18-6 in the paint...7-0 on fast breaks and held the Mavericks to just 36.8 percent shooting.
TURNING POINT: It looked like it was all over with 2:20 to go when Dallas held a seven point lead at 94-87 but the Thunder erased it with a 7-0 run over the next 1:10 capped off by a Durant dunk.
QUOTABLE IV: "We gotta find a way to get Jet [Terry] the ball in the fourth quarter. He was on fire but they were denying him everywhere, even all the way out to half court."
-- Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki
HOT: Russell Westbrook hit his first four shots...Jason Terry hit his first six shots (14 points)...Serge Ibaka was 5-for-7 (11 points) in the first half...Nowitzki was 3-for-5 in the fourth quarter.
NOT: Dirk Nowitzki missed his first four shots and Kevin Durant missed his first four attempts also...Nowitzki finished the first half 4-for-11 and Durant was 5-for-12 at the half...Terry was 0-for-1 in the fourth quarter.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Another sellout crowd inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. Most of the 18,203 fans were already inside the arena and roaring half an hour before tip-off.
GOOD MOVE: The Mavericks did their best to quiet the rowdy Oklahoma City crowd. Dallas jumped out to an eight point lead in the first quarter. It didn't silence the Thunder fans but the roar became more like an idling helicopter than a revving jet engine.
GOOD MOVE, TOO: After using Serge Ibaka to guard Dirk Nowitzki most of the game Brooks switched things up when Nowitzki got hot in the fourth quarter and put center Kendrick Perkins on him. Nowitzki turned the ball over twice when Perkins batted it away. Brooks also put Westbrook on Terry for most of the fourth quarter and shut down the Dallas shooting guard.
BAD MOVE: Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was locked in a one-on-one battle down low with Dallas backup center Ian Mahinmi late in the first quarter. Perkins dribbled just outside the painted area while James Harden was standing all alone and waving his arms out at the 3-point stripe. Instead of passing to the wide open Harden Perkins took another dribble then tried to shoot over Mahinmi. He missed and the Mavs got the rebound.
BAD MOVE THEN GOOD MOVE: In the first quarter Durant threw a lazy pass across the top of the circle that was picked off by Jason Kidd. Durant didn't give up on the play though and raced back up the court with the Dallas point guard then blocked his layup attempt.
NOTABLE: The Thunder take a 1-0 lead in the Best-of-Seven series...Ibaka's 22 points tied a career high.
UP NEXT: Monday, Game 2 @ Oklahoma City, Thursday Game 3 @ Dallas, Saturday Game 4 @ Dallas.