Durant rallies with 34, Thunder top Mavs 131-102, lead 2-1
DALLAS >> Kevin Durant bounced back from the worst shooting game of his playoff career with 34 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder retook control of their first-round series with a 131-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 on Thursday night.
Durant had seven field goals midway through the second quarter on nine shots after he needed 33 to get there in a Game 2 loss that followed a 38-point win in the opener.
The 2014 MVP scored 20 points in the first half, when the Thunder led by as many as 19 points on their way to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is Saturday night in Dallas.
Dirk Nowitzki played despite a right knee bruise and scored 16 points but the Mavericks let Oklahoma City dictate the pace and couldn't keep up, never leading while missing 10 of their first 12 shots from 3-point range.
Russell Westbrook scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half, answering a couple of Dallas runs in the third quarter with two 3-pointers and some of his 15 assist, one off his playoff career high.
The NBA leader in triple-doubles during the regular season had an oddity with no rebounds.
Dion Waiters scored 19 points and was 4 of 8 from long range as the Thunder made 15 of 27 from beyond the arc. Enes Kanter had a playoff career-high 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Wesley Matthews broke out of a shooting slump to lead Dallas with 22 points, hitting 3 of 7 from 3-point range.
Durant clearly was intent on answering his dreadful shooting performance three nights earlier, showing aggression from the start. That included a rim-rattling reverse dunk on rookie Justin Anderson.
The Oklahoma City star, who played one season for the Texas Longhorns about 200 miles from the Dallas area, weathered a rough end to the first half.
He missed his last five shots in the second quarter and was called for his third foul in the final seconds, almost getting a technical for yelling at lead referee Mike Callahan while walking off the court at halftime.
The pair had a more pleasant exchange before the second half started, and Durant hit two quick jumpers early the third quarter to help push the lead back to 19. He was 11 of 25 from the field, including 3 of 9 from 3-point range and 9 of 11 on free throws. He had seven rebounds.
Mavericks guard J.J. Barea returned after missing Game 2 with a strained right groin, trading places with Deron Williams. Dallas' starting point guard, who is battling a sports hernia, didn't play after leaving in the third quarter of the previous game.
Barea had 15 points and seven assists while backcourt partner Raymond Felton had 18 points and three rebounds after getting 21 points and a team-high 11 boards in Dallas' 85-84 win in Game 2.
Thunder: Westbrook had nine assists in the first half, the most for one half in his playoff career. His previous high was eight. ... Serge Ibaka scored 16 on 7-of-9 shooting and made both of 3-point attempts.
Mavericks: David Lee made his Dallas playoff debut after missing the first two games with a right foot injury. He had six points in 17 minutes. ... Anderson scored 12 points in his third career playoff game. He was the only Dallas bench player in double figures.
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