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Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011
Durant nails winner; Thunder still perfect
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant thought he might have just given away a victory and let the Dallas Mavericks steal another one in heartbreaking fashion.
Then he found a way to take it right back.
Durant scored 30 points and hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 104-102 win against Dallas on Thursday night in a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals.
"As a kid, of course you dream about hitting a game-winning shot in the NBA," said Durant, who has hit two other game-winners at the buzzer in his five seasons.
"It's a dream come true."
The Thunder let Dallas wipe away a five-point deficit in the final 46 seconds to go ahead on Vince Carter's 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining. That was just enough time for Thabo Sefolosha to get the ball to Durant, who drilled a 3 from the right wing that improved his team to 4-0.
"It was crazy, a crazy course of events," Durant said. "When two tough teams always go at it, it always comes down to the last play."
Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mavericks, whose title defense is off to a 0-3 start. Dallas had been blown out in its first two losses against Miami and Denver before letting a close one slip away.
"I think the more we go out and just play the game itself more, good things happen on the court," Mavs forward Shawn Marion said.
"We've got to just go out there and stop worrying about other things and just go out there and just play the game and just play hard."
Rockets 105, Spurs 85
In Houston, Kevin Martin scored 25 points, Luis Scola added 18 and Kyle Lowry had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Rockets.
Houston took advantage of San Antonio's poor shooting at the start to build a big lead. First-year Rockets coach Kevin McHale was able to rest his starters in the fourth quarter, with his team playing the first of three games on consecutive nights.
Magic 94, Nets 78
In Orlando, Ryan Anderson scored 22 points, Dwight Howard had 16 points and 24 rebounds and the Magic had little trouble handling New Jersey.
Jason Richardson added 16 points for Orlando, including 15 in the first half, and J.J. Redick scored 15 points.
Lakers 99, Knicks 82
In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 28 points in yet another dynamic performance against the Knicks, and the Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter for their ninth straight victory over New York.
Pau Gasol had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Los Angeles, which has won two straight after a 0-2 start to the compressed season.
Trail Blazers 111, Nuggets 102
In Portland, Wesley Matthews had 25 points, including five 3-pointers in the second half, and the Blazers defeated Denver.
Bulls 108, Kings 98
In Sacramento, Derrick Rose had 19 points and eight assists and Chicago earned a victory over the Kings.
The Bulls ran off 15 straight points early in the game and never trailed again in defeating Sacramento, the NBA's youngest team.