Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Durant took advantage of his turn to flash his MVP credentials to cap off a wild Friday night of NBA action.
Thunder 117, Mavericks 114 OT
A night after LeBron James lit up Los Angeles with an impressive performance against the Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant took his turn in the spotlight and reminded NBA observers that he too is having a season worthy of MVP consideration.
Durant scored nine of his 52 points in overtime to ruin a valiant comeback bid by the Dallas Mavericks and push the Thunder to a 117-114 win. OKC appeared to be in control of the game through three quarters but quickly let a nine-point lead slip away as the game tightened up down the stretch.
Elton Brand helped fuel the comeback, scoring all 10 of his points in the fourth. Vince Carter burst through the lane for a vicious one-handed dunk to draw the Mavs within one with less than 10 seconds to play. OKC made all eight of their free throws in the final two minutes, including a pair by Russell Westbrook after Carter's dunk.
O.J. Mayo then came to the rescue for Dallas with a three-pointer to tie the game with two seconds left in regulation. Durant rose through a host of Mavs but bounced a potential game-winner to send the game to OT. From there Durant and Westbrook, who himself finished with an impressive 31 points, six assists and six rebounds, put away the Mavericks.
Carter scored 29 points off the bench for Dallas while Mayo added 18 points and seven assists.
Down two with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, the Bulls were able to avoid fouling Paul Pierce and instead force a jump ball. After controlling the tip, the Bulls scrambled to get a shot off, which ended with Kirk Hinrich picking up a loose ball and knocking down a mid-range shot to tie the game and send it to extra time.
Overtime played out in similar fashion after Jason Terry hit a jumper to put the C's up 99-98 with 12 seconds remaining. The Bulls ended up scrambling to get a shot up again, but Marco Belinelli found room to release a wild fade away shot that would be the game-winner.
Richard Hamilton scored 20 points for the Bulls and Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 20 rebounds. The Bulls win came at a cost though, as forward Luol Deng limped off the floor in the second half with a hamstring injury.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 30 points and seven assists before taking a shot to the head while fouling out in the overtime period.
76ers 108, Raptors 101 OT
The third overtime game of the night saw the Philadelphia 76ers rally to force overtime before going on to beat the Toronto Raptors thanks to a heavy dose of Jrue Holiday. The Sixers point guard forced overtime when Spencer Hawes found him for a layup. Then in OT, Holiday pumped in 11 of his game-high 33 points to put away the Raptors. Ed Davis, Terrance Ross and Alan Anderson all scored 18 points for Toronto, while Thaddeus Young added 27 points and 14 rebounds for Philly.
Pacers 105, Rockets 95
Indiana won their 11th-consecutive game at home while Houston dropped their sixth-straight game overall. Paul George impacted the game at both ends of the floor, knocking down seven three-pointers on his way to scoring 31 points. George also had five steals while doing his part to slow down Houston's James Harden. Harden needed 19 shots to score 17 points in the loss. Omer Asik led the Rockets with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Forward David West dominated his match-up all night with 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Bobcats 106, Magic 100
Kemba Walker scored 25 points as Charlotte snapped a five-game losing streak to beat Orlando. Ramon Sessions came off the bench to boost the Bobcats with 15 points and seven assists and help Walker in out-dueling the Magic back court. Point guard Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 22 points and seven assists.
Nets 94, Hawks 89
Brooklyn bounced back to beat Atlanta in the second half of a home-and-home series thanks to 24 points and seven assists from Deron Williams. Brook Lopez added 20 points for the Nets as they avenged a loss in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Jeff Teague paced the Hawks with 21 points and 10 assists.
Grizzlies 85, Kings 69
Memphis had their stingy defense on display against the Kings, holding the visitors under 70 points as DeMarcus Cousins (22 points) was the only Sacramento player to reach double figures. Meanwhile the Grizz used a balanced attack with all five starters scoring in double figures led by Mike Conley with 19 points.
Spurs 95, Warriors 88
San Antonio kept Golden State sliding away from the Western Conference elite with a strong defensive effort down the stretch. The Spurs used a familiar winning formula fueled by Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Parker led the Spurs with 25 points and eight assists while Duncan added 24 points and 10 rebounds. Jarrett Jack started in place of Stephen Curry and had 20 points and 10 assists for Golden State.
Wizards 112, Nuggets 108
Washington rallied in impressive fashion to beat Denver on the road with 67 second-half points to make for happy homecoming game for former Nugget Nene. Rookie Bradley Beal scored 23 points and John Wall came off the bench to score 14 points and dish out 12 assists. Wall also sealed up the win with a pair of free throws in the final seconds to put away the Nuggets.