If this was the Sonics' last game in Seattle, then what a way to go out.
Before a raucous crowd in Key Arena on Sunday night that featured Sonic greats Gary Payton and Fred Brown, Seattle won a nailbiter over the Dallas Mavericks 99-95.
Kevin Durant dropped the go-ahead jumper with 41 seconds to go, then leaked out for a fast-break layup to stretch the lead to three and send the crowd into a frenzy.
The atmosphere was electric from the tipoff, as fans turned out in droves to catch a last glimpse of the Sonics should owner Clay Bennett succeed in moving the team to Oklahoma next season.
The arena rocked all night with chants of "Save our Sonics," "Bennett sucks," and briefly, "Boycott Starbucks" (in reference to former owner Howard Schultz).
Sonic players fed off the energy in the building and battled back from a 14-point first quarter deficit to lead by as many as nine points in the third quarter.
However, Dallas pulled to within three at the end of the third period and continued their strong play in the fourth to take a 95-89 lead with just 3:14 remaining.
Dirk Nowitzki led the charge for the Mavericks, finishing the game with 32 points. Despite a noticeable limp, Nowitzki consistently got open beyond the arc and splashed three after three—much to the dismay of the crowd.
But on this night, the Sonics wouldn't be denied. Nick Collison completed an old-fashioned three-point play on a nifty pass from Durant to pull Seattle within three.
Then came the sequence that defined the game.
Dallas brought the ball upcourt, and Jason Terry missed an open jumper—but the Mavs grabbed the offensive board. They brought the ball out, reset, and Eddie Jones missed another open jumper—and Dallas grabbed the board again.
Sonic fans groaned in disbelief. Again the Mavs reset, again Terry missed a wide open jumper—and again they grabbed the offensive board. Finally, the ball swung to Nowitzki for yet another open look. The crowd held its collective breath.
This time, however, Nowitzki was off the mark, and Earl Watson ripped down the board to end Dallas' seemingly endless possession.
On the other end of the court, Johan Petro nailed a jump shot on Watson's tenth assist of the night, pulling the Sonics within one and setting the stage for Durant's heroics.
All told, the Sonics went on a 10-0 run to finish the fourth quarter.
As the game wound down, all 16,272 fans in Key Arena stood as one, shaking the building as they chanted, again and again, "Save our Sonics! clap clap, clap-clap-clap Save our Sonics! clap clap, clap-clap-clap Save our Sonics!"
Clay Bennett, David Stern, the Washington State government—did you get the message?
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