Nowitzki, Mavs inch closer to Finals berth after Game 4 OT winMay 24, 2011 - 6:07 AM Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki put the Dallas Mavericks on his back late in regulation and forced overtime in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
There, Jason Kidd hit a go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute and the Mavericks stole a 112-105 decision for a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Nowitzki scored 12 of his game-high 40 points during a regulation-ending 17-2 flurry, stunning the home crowd and putting the Mavs on the brink of their first NBA Finals appearance since 2006.
They can close out the series at home on Wednesday.
"I can't remember another comeback like that. It didn't look great there, but our defense was unbelievable down the stretch," Nowitzki said. "Once we got to OT, we had to feel good about ourselves."
Kevin Durant ended with 29 points but failed to score in the final 10 minutes and had nine of the Thunder's 26 turnovers.
"This is a very difficult loss. We have to take it like [men] and move on," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said.
A balanced attack allowed the Mavs to win Game 3, 93-87, but they needed their German superstar to come to the rescue Monday.
The Thunder, who had not lost back-to-back games in the postseason, controlled most of the contest and led 99-84 following a Durant three-pointer with 5:06 remaining in the fourth quarter. It proved to be the league's leading scorer's final bucket.
Dallas, coming out of a timeout, scored five straight at the foul line, and a Nowitzki 13-footer cut the deficit to eight.
Russell Westbrook pushed the lead back to double-digits, 101-91, with a jumper for his 18th and 19th points, but he too failed to score the rest of the way.
Nowitzki took over from there, hitting a three-pointer and 14-footer around Westbrook's two misses from the stripe.
A Nowitzki fadeaway the next time down pulled Dallas within 101-98, and Shawn Marion's 1-for-2 showing at the foul line with 39.5 seconds left made it a two-point affair.
Trying to prevent the collapse, Durant threw a cross-court pass to Thabo Sefolosha in the right corner, resulting in a miss and a Jason Terry rebound.
Kidd and Nowitzki played a two-man game at the top of the key, and Nick Collison grabbed the latter coming off a pick-and-roll and was whistled for a foul. Nowitzki made both freebies to tie things with 6.4 seconds left.
Durant rushed a deep try 10 feet beyond the arc and was cleanly blocked by Marion.
"I caught the ball at halfcourt, saw three Mavericks in front of me and I had nothing else to do," a clearly distraught Durant said after the game. "I didn't want to run into their defense. It didn't know what else to do."
Kidd picked up the loose ball with 7/10ths of a second left, and Dallas couldn't get a shot off following a timeout.
Two Nowitzki free throws opened the overtime scoring and gave the Mavs their first lead of the game.
Serge Ibaka, who stepped up with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, hit a jumper with 1:55 left in OT to tie the game again, 105-105.
Terry missed at the other end, but Kidd forced a Durant turnover to give the ball back to Dallas. Nowitzki penetrated to draw two defenders and kicked it out to Kidd, who got open with a pump fake and drained a big three with 40.3 ticks showing.
"I was going to make a play on the elbow against Collison, but once I turned, Westbrook was right there and I swung it out to Kidd," recalled Nowitzki. "He pump faked, got his balance and made a big three for us."
Westbrook missed a runner, and Terry essentially sealed the comeback with two free throws, ending the hard-fought comeback in front of a suddenly silent Oklahoma City Arena.
The Thunder scored as many points in the first three minutes (12) of the game as they had in the entire first quarter on Saturday. They hit their first nine shots from the field, five coming from Durant, and went ahead 18-8 on Durant's slam with 7:54 remaining in the opening quarter.
Dallas trailed 31-22 at the end of the first, and stayed in the game by hitting 10-of-12 from the foul line in the second, which ended with the Thunder holding a 59-54 advantage.
An evenly-played third ended with the Thunder ahead, 81-77.
The Thunder went 2-for-13 from three-point range after a 1-for-17 effort in Game 3's loss...Thunder forward James Harden had seven points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 4:34 left in regulation...The Thunder are no strangers to overtime, going 8-2 during the regular season and splitting two OT games in their second-round series against Memphis...Westbrook had a game- high eight assists...Kidd totaled 17 points and seven helpers, while Terry scored 20 points off the Dallas bench...Dallas outscored Oklahoma City at the foul line, 34-19...Oklahoma City won the rebounding battle, 55-33...The Mavericks had 13 turnovers.
- DALLAS: 112
OKLAHOMA CITY: 105
Final - OT
May 24 12:08 AM
- DALLAS: 101
OKLAHOMA CITY: 101
End of Regulation
May 23 11:49 PM
- DALLAS: 77
OKLAHOMA CITY: 81
End of 3rd
May 23 11:03 PM
- DALLAS: 54
OKLAHOMA CITY: 59
May 23 10:13 PM
- DALLAS: 22
OKLAHOMA CITY: 31
End of 1st
May 23 9:36 PM
- DALLAS: 0
OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
May 23 9:07 PM
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