NBA Playoffs: Durant Sticks It to the Mavs Again in Game 1

Danny WebsterAnalyst IIIApril 29, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates making the winning shot against the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2012 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City defeated Dallas 99-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen, please bear with me as I attempt to write this article.

Because what I, and the rest of us just witnessed, is something that could only be truly told in a fairy tale storybook of proportions in a way that can't be explained but can be summed up simply in one sentence:

Kevin Durant did it again to the Dallas Mavericks.

First it was the three-pointer at the buzzer in the early part of the regular season, now the three-time scoring champion did it again, by shooting the ball five feet higher than usual, thus hitting the rim and backboard about three times, and slowly moving through the net as the OKC crowd erupted in cheers.

The great defense of Shawn Marion and the rushing contest of Ian Mahinmi couldn't stop Durant from making one of the most miraculous shots in the history of the NBA Playoffs.

And thanks to that, and Marion having no idea how much time was left on the clock, Dallas now heads to Game 2 down 1-0 in the best of seven series, knowing that they missed a gigantic opportunity to make a statement early on.

It's bound to be a long 48 hours for the defending NBA Champions before they take the court again on Monday, and each player has to lay down in bed tonight knowing that they couldn't close a big-time game yet again.

But before we get to the heart of the matter, let's take away some positives from Saturday night.

Jason Terry changed the initials on his shoes from CTC (cut the check) to DTT (defending the title), and for the majority of the game, JET definitely put CTC in the back of his mind and hit his first six shots of the game, including two three-pointers.

Terry's production was the jolt of energy that kept the Mavs in contention for the game when Dirk Nowitzki was struggling from the field in the first half.

Later on, Dirk turned into the German superhero we all know and love and put Dallas up seven in the final minutes.

Then, it happened.

A 9-2 run from the Thunder in less than 80 seconds tied the game at 94 after Durant's thunderous one-handed dunk off the no-look feed from James Harden brought the OKC faithful into a frenzy.

Then after Mahinmi made the biggest free throws in his life, the refs made perhaps the biggest questionable call (and there were a lot on both sides) of the game when Serge Ibaka dunked the ball and got fouled by Nowitzki to take a one-point lead.

Dirk hits two free throws with nine seconds left, then Durant hits the amazing shot, and the rest is history.

A majority of people are always critical of Russell Westbrook, his style of play and the fact that he, more times than none, takes more shots than Durant. But if it wasn't for the All-Star point guard, OKC might not have been leading 1-0 after tonight.

Durant had a tough time tonight, shooting 10-for-27 from the field, although scoring 25 points. And it was Westbrook who picked up the slack by scoring a game-high 28 points, and Ibaka also had an outstanding game with 22 points and five blocks.

James Harden even played like he never suffered a concussion and scored 19 points in his return to the court since Metta World Peace gave him the elbow heard 'round the "world."

Today's bit of playoff action showed more than one could fathom. Between the Chicago Bulls losing Derrick Rose, the Miami Heat destroying the Knicks and the Pacers' mental lapses in their loss to Orlando, this was the icing on the cake.

If there's one thing positive that can be taken away from tonight, it's that if what happened tonight is the prelude to what the rest of this series can bring, then we're on verge of witnessing an all-time classic playoff series.

In three of the four games between the Mavs and Thunder this year, they each came down to the final few minutes, so it's clear that the competitiveness between these two I-35 rivals has carried over into this year's playoffs. And that much I am excited for.

But if heartbreak like this continues, then I may hope for at least one blowout just to feel better. Although, there's a gigantic level of encouragement from what we witnessed tonight. If the Mavs can somehow steal Game 2, then the next two in Dallas may say a lot.

Fear not, fellow Mavs fans. For we may experience a great sense of pain and heartbreak tonight and up until the final minute before the next game, but things may be on the up and up.

At least, I hope.