The Oklahoma City Thunder got 40-point performance from Kevin Durant and a scintillating overtime session from Russell Westbrook en route to defeating the Dallas Mavericks, 111-105, on Thursday night.
While the ultimate takeaway was a Thunder win, how we got to the first overtime will be what most are talking about Friday morning.
Dallas guard Darren Collison sent the contest to overtime with what can only be considered one of the best buzzer-beaters of 2012. Fed the ball on a broken play by Shawn Marion, the Mavericks' point guard hoisted up a shot while leaping off one foot as time expired, draining a three to tie the score at 98-98.
That shot was part of an absolutely brilliant night for Collison. The much-maligned point guard had a season-high 32 points, adding five rebounds and four assists to his total as well. However, the rest of the Mavericks' stars failed to give him much help. O.J. Mayo scored just six points and Dirk Nowitzki added only nine in his second game back in the lineup.
On the other hand, Oklahoma City's stars shined when the team needed them most. Westbrook came up with a clutch steal of Mayo in the final minute of the fourth quarter that helped put the Thunder up by three and continued his momentum into overtime.
The young guard scored eight of Oklahoma City's 13 points in overtime and was instrumental to pulling away with the win. Still, he shot just 7-of-20 from the field and had just eight points in the four quarters prior.
Thursday was Westbrook's ninth consecutive game shooting under 50 percent and was the sixth time in his past seven contests he hit under 40 percent of his shots. That streak has to be awfully disconcerting.
Nevertheless, Durant picked up the slack and had his second 40-point game to give Oklahoma City a chance. It was the Thunder's third win in as many overtimes this season, while the Mavs fell to 0-5 in such contests.
Player of the Game: Kevin Durant
Westbrook may have had a heroic overtime session, but Durant was the man who gave his team an extra period. With 40 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three blocks, Durant once again proved why he's one of the best all-around players in the NBA.
Thursday was also Durant's sixth game with 30 or more points in his past seven.
What's Next for the Mavericks?
There will be no days off for the 12-17 Mavericks, as they had back home to play the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
What's Next for the Thunder?
Fresh off an overtime thriller, the 22-6 Thunder will get a 24-hour reprieve from the NBA grind before hitting the road to play the Houston Rockets on Saturday.