Durant rallies with 34, Thunder top Mavs 131-102, lead 2-1
DALLAS (AP) Kevin Durant rattled the rim early with a reverse dunk and pulled up from well behind the 3-point line for another of his first-half baskets.
The Oklahoma City star was intent on putting aside the worst shooting game of his playoff career.
Durant scored 20 of his 34 points in the first half, Russell Westbrook had 20 of his 26 in the second and the Thunder retook control of their first-round series with a 131-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 on Thursday night.
The 2014 MVP 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 Thunder took a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 on Saturday night in Dallas.
''When I play well, I don't throw a party for myself afterward,'' Durant said after his 34th career 30-point postseason game. ''If I play terrible, I'm not going to go out and change anything up. I'm going to go out there and do the same thing I've been doing.''
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.
''The way we won Game 2 was it was a slower-paced game for us, kind of grind it out,'' Nowitzki said of the 85-84 win. ''It's going to be tough for us win a game if they score 131 points. I don't think we can score 131 right now with the team we roll out there, the injuries.''
Westbrook answered the best Dallas run of the second half with alternating 3-pointers and assists on four straight possessions to help push a 10-point lead back to 18. He finished with 15 assists, one off his playoff career high.
The NBA leader in triple-doubles during the regular season had an oddity with no rebounds.
''I don't know the last time I did that,'' Westbrook said with a smile. ''But maybe next time, I'll get one.''
Dion Waiters scored 19 points and was 4 of 8 from long range as the Thunder made 15 of 27 from beyond the arc and shot 58 percent after shooting 34 percent in Game 2. 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, 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.
''I don't know if he's ever missed 26 shots in a game in his life,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ''The question is, `Did we make it as hard on him as we could?' And that's why I need to watch the film to get an objective view of that.''
Dallas guard J.J. Barea returned after missing Game 2 with a strained right groin, trading places with Deron Williams. The Mavericks' 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 Game 2.
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. The Mavericks are already without versatile forward Chandler Parsons, out of the season following right knee surgery
Westbrook's pregame dance with Cameron Payne went off without a hitch far from midcourt after Charlie Villanueva and Dallas rookie Justin Anderson got caught in the middle of it before Game 2, leading to shoves from Westbrook and a popular video on social media. The regional rivals saved the testy moments for the game.
First, Felton had to be separated a couple of times from Steven Adams after they got tangled. And Nowitzki had a few choice words for Andre Roberson after the young guard plowed through the 7-foot German when he was setting a screen.
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 his 3-point attempts.
Mavericks: Anderson scored 12 points in his third career playoff game. He was the only Dallas bench player in double figures. ... Felton matched his playoff career high with four steals.