Game Recap

1.5 Seconds remaining in the game when Kevin Durant hit the game-winning bucket

8 Rebounds for Kendrick Perkins, a team and game-high

9 Blocked shots for Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka combined

9-for-10   Free throw shooting numbers for James Harden, who finished with 19 points

16 Lead changes in the game, which also featured 10 ties 

22   Points for Serge Ibaka on the night, on 9-for-12 shooting, tying a career-high

28 Points for Russell Westbrook, a game-high

44-to-32 Edge in points in the paint for the Thunder on the night

       
GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
A high-arcing Kevin Durant shot from right near the free throw line hopped once off the back iron, and down straight through the cup, giving the Thunder a dramatic 99-98 over the Dallas Mavericks lead with 1.5 seconds remaining. That lead held as the Thunder went on a 12-4 run to close out the game and come away with victory in Game One of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. After the game Head Coach Scott Brooks was happy with the win but also understood that this is just the first battle in what will be a war of a playoff series.

"We knew going into this game that there were going to be a lot of plays made on both ends to get the win," Brooks said. "We have to continue to do a better job in taking care of the basketball. They're one of the best teams at running the clock down to find a great shot and they don't turn the ball over a lot.

Though it was Durant's jumper in the end that gave the Thunder the slim margin of victory it needed, guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden and forward Serge Ibaka carried the offensive load throughout the night. That trio combined for 69 points on the night on 26-for-42 shooting. Ibaka cleaned up three offensive boards for buckets and finished two late three-point plays en route to a career-high tying 22 points. Harden, in his first game back from a concussion, knocked in 19 points on only seven shots.

"Those guys, they were taking good shots, making good shots," Durant said. "Serge was doing a great job of finishing. Russ carried us all night... My teammates always do a great job of giving me encouragement every time I step to the bench."

In the grind-it-out style game that saw 16 lead changes throughout the night, the one constant was the effectiveness of Westbrook on all levels. He took the challenge of guarding Jason Terry in the fourth quarter, shutting him down and denying the pass. On offense, he had five assists while also getting to the rim and pulling up for jumpers when the team needed it the most.

"I was just staying aggressive," Westbrook said. "I did a good job of getting into the lane, shooting the pull-up when it was there and tried to find a way to get my teammates open as well… My job as a point guard is to find a way to keep us going.

While the offense managed enough points to make the furious late-game comeback, it was two late steals and 11 blocked shots throughout the night that saved basket after basket. Ibaka and Durant combined for nine blocks, most of which came right at the rim, erasing would-be layups. The defensive rotations, help-side coverages and recoveries off of double teams was extremely high, in addition to Kendrick Perkins' late-game defense against Dirk Nowitzki.

"It was great," Ibaka said. "We were focused and it wasn't easy. Especially when you play against this team, they move the ball a lot and they try to make you go to help, then get open three pointers. We were focused tonight and we did great."

TURNING POINT:
The game ping-ponged all night long, but it turned with 2:31 remaining with the Thunder down 94-87. Thanks to the scoring of Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant, along with the defense of Kendrick Perkins, the Thunder went on a 12-4 run to end the game. Durant started it off with two free throws, then he dished to Ibaka for a dunk with the foul. With 1:30 remaining, James Harden made a steal and got it to Durant for a dunk to tie the game at 94. In less than a minute, the Thunder had turned a seven point deficit into a tie game. Durant again dished to Ibaka for a dunk and the foul, Perkins made a steal and Durant hit his game-winner to end the game.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON'T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Great offensive execution as Kevin Durant set a back screen or Serge Ibaka, leading to an easy two pointer… Kevin Durant stays down on a pump fake, blocking a shot which leads to a Westbrook pull up jumper… Great passing in transition as Durant hits Ibaka, who finds Westbrook for a corner three-pointer… Beautiful job of hedging on a pick-and-roll by Westbrook, then Ibaka stays down on pump fakes… Thabo Sefolosha reaches up and makes a steal, leading to some nifty dribbling and a finish on the fast break… Durant flies back in transition defense to hustle and swat away a shot at the rim… Tough post defense by Ibaka to force a Dirk Nowitzki missed shot, then Perkins comes up with an offensive rebound… Ibaka slides over in help side defense to block a shot, then good dribbling by Westbrook to get into the lane and drop one off for Durant… Great awareness by James Harden to drive and kick to Durant for a corner three-pointer… Incredible hustle by Derek Fisher to fly back through the lane to strip the ball away… Fisher steps in and draws a charge on the opening possession of the second quarter, then Collison flips the ball to Harden for a three-pointer… Pretty passing from Harden to Nick Collison to Ibaka for a slam dunk, then Ibaka shows amazing recovery to swat a sure layup… Ibaka then flies back down the court and saves an alley oop pass back to Harden, then Ibaka follows up a miss with a huge putback dunk… Nice hustle by Durant to snare a defensive board that nearly fell into a Dallas hand… Slick drive and dump off pass by Durant to Ibaka for a slam dunk, then Westbrook seals off Harden's defender to free him up for a three-pointer… Ibaka takes the in-bounds pass from Durant and nails a three-pointer to end the half!

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON'T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Solid defensive rotations on two consecutive possessions for the Thunder, then Westbrook anticipates and makes a steal and drops it off to Durant for a slam… Westbrook snags another steal by stripping the ball, following it up with a mid-range jumper… Wonderful 24 seconds of defense by the Thunder as Sefolosha made a block then Westbrook closed out and forced a tough shot… Durant and Ibaka combine to block a dunk attempt leading to a Sefolosha run-out and open three-pointer… Quick hands by Sefolosha to knock the ball off Delonte West, then Westbrook uses quickness to grab an offensive board… Westbrook ducks into the lane and hits Ibaka for a mid-range jumper, then Ibaka fights on the defensive boards… Westbrook somehow slinks into the lane and feeds Ibaka with a lefty wrap-around pass for a dunk… Durant rises up and blocks a shot, then Westbrook skies high to grab an offensive rebound… Pretty pass from Fisher to Durant for a turnaround jumper from the elbow, then Harden pressures up top to force a turnover… Harden steps in front and smartly draws a charge, then he flashes through the lane for a dunk at the rim… Durant helps over for a block and Harden boxes out strongly for a defensive rebound… Perfect defensive possession for Durant, who slid over to double team then got back in time to block the shot… Ibaka makes a steal, then Harden finishes up his own missed shot… Fisher tips a defensive board out to Durant to save a defensive board… Nice box out by Durant to tip a defensive rebound to Perkins, then Westbrook somehow acrobatically finishes at the rim with his left hand with the foul… Good box out by Perkins, then Harden slides into the lane and draws a foul… Ibaka makes an important offensive rebound and draws a foul… Harden snags a loose ball and tosses an alley-oop to Westbrook, then Durant feeds Ibaka for a layup and the foul… Perkins strips Nowtizki, then Harden leads a three-on-one fast break for a Durant dunk… Durant drives and dishes to Ibaka for a dunk and the foul… Harden and Perkins steal the ball from Nowitzki then Durant drives to the foul line, hangs and hits the game-winner with 1.5 seconds left!