Game Recap - Conference Finals Game 4 vs Dallas Mavericks

Playoffs Game Recap
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1 Lead changes in the game.

2 Timeouts the Mavericks took in the first four minutes of the game.

2:45 Minutes and seconds it took the Thunder to reach 12 points, the first-quarter total it scored in Game 3.

4Times the game was tied.

5Quarters the Thunder has scored 30 more points in this series. It scored 31 in the first quarter.

6 Free throws missed by the Thunder.

9 Shots blocked by the Thunder, five by Serge Ibaka.

15 Thunder’s largest lead in the game.

15.4 Thunder’s shooting percentage from 3-point line (2-for-13).

17 Second-quarter points scored by Dirk Nowitzki.

20 Offensive rebounds by the Thunder; Nick Collison had six.

25 Turnovers by the Thunder.

54 Points in the paint for the Thunder; Mavericks had 36.

55 Rebounds by the Thunder (the Mavericks had 33).

GAME 5 of the Western Conference Finals will be played Wednesday night in Dallas. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPN and the Thunder Radio Network.

“It’s not over yet,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant said. “We have a game on Wednesday, so. We’ve won there before, so we’ve got to try to do it again.”


THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: Mavericks guard Jason Kidd drilled a 3-point shot with 40.3 seconds remaining in overtime, breaking a 105-105 tie and sucking most of the energy from the sold-out Oklahoma City Arena crowd.  

That this game had got to overtime is surprising. The Thunder led 99-84 with 5:04 remaining following what appeared to be a 3-point dagger by Kevin Durant.  

But the Mavericks are a veteran-laden team that features one of the game’s great scorers, Dirk Nowitzki, and savvy playmakers, Jason Kidd. Nowitzki put on an offensive clinic in the final five minutes, scoring 13 points in this stretch by making off-balance jumpers from seemingly every spot on the court.  

The Thunder, meanwhile, couldn’t score. The Thunder missed eight shots, two key free throws, turned the ball over twice and sent the Mavericks to the foul line five times. A 16-foot jumper by Russell Westbrook, with 2:33 to play, was the Thunder’s only basket in game-deciding stretch.  

“Well, it goes without saying that it was a tough loss to accept, but it is a loss and we have to learn from it,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “I thought our guys played as hard a basketball game as you can play. They were physical and they challenged shots.  

“I give our guys a lot of credit; they came and fought and did everything they can to win this game. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t come out with the win. Dallas outplayed us down the stretch.”  

Still, it appeared the Thunder would survive when guard Thabo Sefolosha rejected the shot of a driving Jason Terry and gathered the loose ball with 1:04 to play and Oklahoma City clinging to a 101-98 lead.  

But a missed jumper at the offensive end led to two Shawn Marion free throws at the other. The Mavericks would tie the game with two Nowitzki free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining, setting the stage for one last Thunder play.  

Durant got the ball, but the Mavericks had three defenders on him. Durant elevated for a 30-foot shot, but Marion blocked the shot and a Mavericks alley-oop attempt off an inbounds pass came up empty, forcing overtime.  

 “It was all about getting stops and every guy that was in there during that period made big plays, whether they were loose-ball plays, big extra-pass plays,” Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle said. “And the thing about this team, all year’s it’s been a resourceful group. They keep believing and we’ve been extremely opportunistic.”

TURNING POINTS: The Thunder started the game with urgency and jumped out to leads of 18-8 and 26-15. … In second quarter, the Mavericks go on a 10-2 run over a stretch of 4:37 to cut a 51-40 deficit to 53-50. … With Thunder up 74-63 and the crowd living up to its reputation for being loud, Mavericks won’t buckle.  Dallas scores five straight points to make it 74-68 and soon pulls within two, 79-77, on a tip-in basket by Shawn Marion. … In the final 5:04 of the fourth quarter, the Thunder is outscored 17-2, its only points coming on a 16-foot jumper by Russell Westbrook with 2:33 to play.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON'T SHOW: Kevin Durant dribbling hard to his right, going behind his back to get away from Mavs center Tyson Chandler and forward Shawn Marion, and releasing a 17-foot jumper over forward Dirk Nowitzki while falling to his left. … Thabo Sefolosha not allowing Marion any space on an inbounds pass, forcing Jason Kidd to throw the ball high and ultimately away. Durant grabs the loose ball at midcourt, dribbles hard and slams home a 18-8 lead. … Russell Westbrook keeping his dribble and driving hard to his right, releasing a running hook shot high off the glass and in. … Durant soaring high like an NFL receiver to make a one-handed catch of a Kendrick Perkins outlet pass near the top of the key. The play saves a turnover and ends in a Sefolosha jumper. … Great give-and-go involving Durant to Perkins to Nick Collison, who ends the sequence with a layin. … Collison, grabbing an offensive rebound of his own miss, going right up for an easy two. … Collison and Serge Ibaka working together on defense, a result that ends with an emphatic Ibaka block of Nowitzki’s shot. … Eric Maynor reaching in as Nowitzki is spinning in the lane, jarring the ball loose and into James Harden’s hands for a fast-break dunk. … Westbrook driving to the hoop from the top of the key, leaving Kidd, Stojakovic and Marion flat-footed. … Sefolosha saving the ball deep on the baseline at the Mavericks’ end of the court and getting it to Durant, who throws a full-court pass to Perkins under the basket. Perkins catches the ball, spins and makes the basket despite being fouled by Nowitzki to give the Thunder a 55-52 lead. … Thabo, faking a pass to get Kidd to jump, steps around his Mavs defender for a wide open 18-foot jumper and a 65-59 lead. … Collison grabbing an offensive rebound of a missed free throw, throwing it back to Durant for a 3 and a 69-61 lead. … Sefolosha slipping in between four Mavericks defenders for a put-back basket. … Westbrook soaring to out-rebound Chandler following a 3-point miss by Stojakovic. … Ibaka on consecutive plays: rejecting and collecting the shot of J.J. Barea on the defensive end, going high for an offensive rebound at the other end that results in two Durant free throws and 90-81 lead. … KD soaring for a offensive rebound, going hard to hoop and Collison finishing at the basket for 96-84 lead. … Collison grabbing an offensive rebounding and getting the ball to Durant behind the 3-point line. Durant drains the shot for a 99-84 lead with 5:04 to play.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: 9-for-9: The Thunder opened the game by hitting its first nine shots from the field in building an 18-8 lead. Kevin Durant was 5-for-5 in this stretch. … 18-7: The run the Thunder went on to open the fourth quarter and build a 99-84 lead. … 28-6: The point differential between the Mavericks and the Thunder over the last 10 minutes, 4 seconds (5:04 of regulation, five minutes of overtime).

LAST WORD I: “Well, there’s no doubt it was a tough loss. … Our guys are very resilient. They’re a group that battles every day. They’re a group that believes in each other. There’s no question that this is a very difficult loss, but it is a loss and you have to take it.  We have to somehow muster enough energy tomorrow in our practice and then come back just focus on one game. We have to win one game.” – Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks.

LAST WORD II: “We need our building to be as loud as this building. It’s as simple as that. This is a fantastic place to play a playoff game because the level of enthusiasm, noise – I mean, if these guys were getting beat and they were going to lose and the place is yelling ‘OKC, OKC,’ the fans are beyond belief. We’re going to need that Wednesday and we’re going to need to throw a big-time game at these guys because the last time we played them at our place we got our tails kicked.” – Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle.

LAST WORD III: “It is tough. You are down 20 most of the game and you finally cut it down and then they hit a shot that hurts your heart. They did that numerous times.” – Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

-- Ron Matthews, THUNDER.NBA.COM