A win in Game 1 wouldn't erase the demons of a five-game loss in the Western Conference finals last season, but Kevin Durant made sure the Thunder were a step closer to doing so.
Durant, struggling for most of the night shooting 10-of-27, sank a 15-foot jumper over Mavericks' Ian Mahinmi and Shawn Marion with 1.5 seconds left, giving Oklahoma City the win over the defending champions, 99-98.
The winner of Game 1 in a seven-game series has won the series 78 percent of the time, including Dallas over the Thunder last season.
Scott Brooks called a timeout following a Dirk Nowitzki lay-up and free throw, extending the Mavs' lead to 92-85. Following the timeout, a 7-0 run resulted in a Dallas timeout after a James Harden steal led to a Durant alley-oop, tying the game at 94.
Nursing a one-point lead, Perkins poked the ball out of Nowitzki's hand, as it looked to be in the Thunder's favor to ice the game. But a Durant jumper was off the mark as Dallas called a timeout with 24 seconds left.
Nowitzki was fouled with nine seconds left, made both and set the stage for Durant.
Durant caught the inbound pass from Russell Westbrook before dribbling to the right side. After a spin move, Durant found himself facing the outstretched hands of both Marion and Mahinmi. The ball looked off the mark after bouncing off the front rim, but the iron was kind off the backboard, dropping in for the lead.
Marion was unable to get a prayer off in time.
Ibaka's three-pointer to end the half cut the Dallas lead to 51-48, capping a sluggish first half for Durant and the Thunder. Durant started slow, missing his first four shots. Russell Westbrook carried the load, making five of his first seven. Terry equaled Westbrook's start with a strong one of his own, going 4-of-4 with 10 points in the first quarter.
It's just one game, but there are grades to be given out for both teams.