The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 28, 2012

Westbrook leads Oklahoma City in final minutes

OKLAHOMA CITY — For three and a half quarters, it looked like Kevin Durant was going to have to do it alone. Facing a feisty Dallas squad, the three-time scoring champ had to carry Oklahoma City for most of the night.

But when the game was in the balance, Russell Westbrook finally woke up to help lead the Thunder to a 111-105 overtime victory over the Mavericks at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“That’s what Russell does,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s a competitor. He fights. He didn’t have a good first half. He kept fighting for the team.”

The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Thunder (22-6), but it didn’t come without its share of drama.

Oklahoma City trailed 104-103 with 1:04 left in overtime. Westbrook, who was having a horrible shooting night, knocked down a jumper over Dirk Nowitzki to give the Thunder a one-point advantage.

Dallas’ O.J. Mayo attempted to throw a cross-court pass to Darren Collison, but Westbrook came out of nowhere for the steal and layup. The Thunder led 107-104 with 42 seconds remaining.

Mayo tried to answer with a 3-pointer that was off the mark, but he was fouled by Kevin Martin. Mayo made just one of three free throws. Westbrook was fouled, and made both of his attempts to put the game away for Oklahoma City.

“Just playing my game,” Westbrook said. “Stayed aggressive throughout the whole game. Sometimes shots are going to fall. Sometimes they are not. But I know if I continue to play the right way offensively and defensively, something good is going to happen.”

Westbrook scored 16 points on 7-of-20 shooting to go along with 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals. Serge Ibaka added 19 points and 17 rebounds for Oklahoma City.

But it was Durant who shouldered most of the scoring load as he poured in 40 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. He was 4 for 8 from behind the arc and hit every big shot until Westbrook found his game.

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