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Harden leads Thunder past Mavs

Mar 6, 2012 - 6:39 AM Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - James Harden scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Oklahoma City Thunder downed the Dallas Mavericks, 95-91, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Russell Westbrook added 24 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Kevin Durant finished with 22 points and seven rebounds as the Thunder became the first team in the Western Conference with 30 wins.

"It's a good win for us, playing against one of the best teams in the West," Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks said.

The victory was also Oklahoma City's 13th straight at home, marking the franchise's longest home winning streak since the SuperSonics reeled off 17 straight in Seattle from November 11, 1994-January 24, 1995.

Dirk Nowitzki shot 4-for-6 from three-point range en route to a team-high 27 points as Dallas lost for the fifth time in six games.

Oklahoma City carried a 68-65 advantage into the fourth quarter and after Jason Terry opened the frame with a pair of free throws to bring the Mavericks within one, the next four minutes saw four lead changes and two ties.

The second tie came on Terry's runner to knot the game at 80 before Durant dropped in a three-pointer and sank a pair of free throws to give the Thunder an 85-80 lead with 6:27 left in the game.

Shawn Marion put an end to Durant's personal run with a tip-in that Nowitzki followed with back-to-back treys to put Dallas ahead, 88-85, with less than four remaining in the fourth.

Harden's two free throws closed the gap to one before Nowitzki sank another three to give the Mavs a four-point lead.

But Westbrook answered with a shot from beyond the arc to close the gap to one and after the team's traded turnovers, Serge Ibaka connected on a couple of free throws to put the Thunder on top, 92-91, with 46.2 seconds left on the clock.

It would be the fourth quarter's sixth and final lead change.

Terry's fadeaway jumper on the other end fell short and caused Dallas to turn the ball over on a shot-clock violation, but Durant went 1-for-2 from the foul line to keep it a one-possession game, 93-91, with 13.9 seconds showing on the clock.

Coming out of a timeout, Terry took a jumper from the baseline that hit the front of the rim and Westbrook grabbed the rebound, which led to the game- sealing free throws.

"We made a run, but these are games we have to win," Terry said. "I'm very disappointed we didn't get it done tonight."

Oklahoma City opened the game with an 8-4 run to take the early lead, but Dallas answered with an 11-4 spurt to go ahead, 15-12, on Lamar Odom's tip-in with a little over five minutes left in the first quarter.

The Thunder, though, closed out the opening frame with a 14-8 run and held a 26-23 advantage after one.

The Mavericks controlled the first four minutes of the second quarter with a 12-4 swing that included six points by Rodrigue Beaubois to retake the lead, 35-30.

Oklahoma City answered with a brief 7-2 spurt to knot the game at 37, but Dallas regained control with a 15-5 run to jump out to a double-digit lead, 52-42, with about a minute left in the half and held a 52-45 advantage at the break.

After the Thunder opened the third quarter with seven straight points to tie the game at 52 with 9:24 left in the frame, the next six-plus minutes saw three ties and neither team take a lead larger than three points until a 7-0 swing by Oklahoma City, capped by Durant's three-point play, gave the Thunder a 68-61 advantage with 1:33 to play.

However, Dallas recorded the quarter's final four points and trailed, 68-65, entering the final stanza.

Game Notes

Mavericks starting center and leading rebounder Brendan Haywood left the game early in the first quarter with a sprained left ankle...Oklahoma City's last loss at home was on January 3 to Portland...Dallas has held its opponents to under 100 points in 17 of its last 18 games but is just 9-9 in that stretch...The Thunder took the season series, 3-1.