OKLAHOMA CITY -- How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki hit three 3-pointers with under five minutes to go (four total in the fourth quarter), including one to tie, one to take the lead and another for a 91-87 lead with 2:44 to go.
It would be the Mavs' final points.
Dallas had a chance to tie or take the lead on its final possession, but the play out of the timeout turned into an all-too familiar scramble. Jason Terry dumped the ball to Jason Kidd near the basket along the baseline and he shuffled back to Terry on the baseline. With a hand in his face, Terry's high-arching shot fell shot, bouncing high off the rim.
The Thunder will use this as proof that they continue to improve at closing out games. The Mavs, typically a tremendous close-out team, has been uncharacteristically sloppy in crunch time of late.
The two OKC All-Stars were 12-of-28 combined from the floor. Durant finished with 22 points, but hit a key 3-pointer with 6:45 left for an 83-80 lead. Westbrook had 24 points and six assists.
Nowitzki, who had 12 points in the fourth quarter -- all on 3-pointers -- finished with a game-high 27 points. But he also had a late turnover, throwing the ball out of bounds while passing out of the lane on a drive, and missed his final shot attempt over Kendrick Perkins with more than two minutes to go.
Terry, coming of a hot game in Dallas on Saturday, was 3-of-10 in the final period.
The third quarter was costly. Dallas led 52-45 at the half, but Oklahoma City got off to a 7-0 start to tie it at 52-52. Dallas made it 57-54 before a 14-4 run put the Thunder up 68-61. Oklahoma City took a 68-65 lead into the final quarter.
What it means: The Mavs couldn't secure their first winning streak since mid-February as they lost for a sixth time in eight games and dropped to 22-17. In the bigger picture, Dallas lost the season series to OKC, 3-1, but it was far more even than the ledger indicates. The Thunder needed a buzzer-beater 3-pointer from Durant in the first meeting, and OKC certainly had all kinds of trouble separating from Dallas on this night.
Bold play of the game: With under a minute to go and the Mavs leading 91-90, Durant drove and dished underneath to Serge Ibaka. He went up and was challenged by Ian Mahimi, who got a piece of the ball, but was called for a foul. Ibaka made both for a 92-91 lad with 46.2 seconds left. The play fouled out Mahinmi as Jason Kidd argued the center's case to the referee Pat Fraher.
Stat of the game: The Mavericks followed up a 29-point second quarter with a 13-point third quarter.