May 24, 2013
Oklahoma City eliminate champion Mavericks
The Oklahoma City Thunder roared home with a final quarter blitz to eliminate last season's NBA champions Dallas from the Western Conference playoffs, rallying for a 103-97 victory.
Also in the West, San Antonio surged into a 3-0 series lead over the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers moved into a 2-1 lead over Memphis, while in the Eastern Conference the Indiana Pacers took a 3-1 series lead over Orlando.
In Dallas, James Harden scored 15 of his 29 points in the quarter as the Thunder completed the four-game sweep by scoring 35 points in the fourth quarter while holding Dallas to 16.
"(I was) in attack mode," Harden told reporters. "Scotty put the ball in my hands in the fourth quarter and he told me to make plays. ... It was just tremendous."
The Mavericks, just the third defending champions to be ousted in the first round, failed to score a field goal in the final 5:47.
Oklahoma City had trailed by 13 at the end of the third but sparked to life by a 12-0 run, they finally took the lead on a slam dunk by Serge Ibaka with five minutes to play.
"We didn't crumble," said Thunder All Star forward Kevin Durant, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds. "I think that's the best part of our team. We've grown in that area. We never gave up."
Dirk Nowitzki led the scoring for Dallas with 34 points but none of his team mates scored more than 16 points.
In the East, Indiana squandered a 19-point lead against the Orlando Magic but fought back in overtime to register a 101-99 victory and take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series.
"We made a lot of mistakes, but we still came out of here with a win," said a relieved David West, who led the Pacers with 26 points. Indiana can clinch the first-round series with victory in Game Five on Tuesday in Indianapolis.
The Magic trailed 82-63 with 8:14 left but rallied to tie it 89-89 at the end of regulation and force overtime.
Orlando had a chance to win before the extra session but Jameer Nelson's jumper at the buzzer came up short, scraping off the front rim.
Indiana scored the first six points of the extra five-minute period but once again the Magic clawed back to tie at 99-99.