Thunder beat Mavericks 119-108 for 3-1 lead in testy series

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (r) smiles with teammates Steven Adams, left, and guard Andre Roberson (center) during Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. AP Photo, LM Otero.

Dallas (AP) — Kevin Durant got ejected, Russell Westbrook was part of a shouting match in front of his bench and Serge Ibaka drew a technical for throwing an elbow in the final seconds with the outcome already decided.

Regardless, the Oklahoma City Thunder are now in firm control of a testy first-round series that got quite a bit testier.

Westbrook had 25 points and 15 assists, Durant added 19 points in a quiet game before he was thrown out following a flagrant foul in the final minute and the Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 119-108 on Saturday for a 3-1 series lead.

Going into Game 5 on Monday night in Oklahoma City, Durant doesn't think things are getting out of hand despite several tense moments that included Dallas team security making sure he didn't leave the court in front of the Mavericks bench after his ejection.

"I don't believe they're trying to hurt us, and we're not trying to hurt them," Durant said, also emphasizing that he wasn't trying to hurt Justin Anderson when he swung his arm across the Dallas guard's head. "We're going to do some talking. We're going to do some shoving here and there because that's how competitive both teams are."

Enes Kanter had his second straight playoff career high with 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting for the Thunder, who never trailed in two games in Dallas after the Mavericks evened the series with a one-point win in Oklahoma City following a 38-point loss in the opener.

Dirk Nowitzki had 27 points and eight rebounds for the Mavericks, who stayed close in the second half after a Game 3 blowout but couldn't get the deficit inside seven in the second half. Dallas hasn't won a playoff series since winning the 2011 NBA title.

"Just fighting till the end," Nowitzki said. "Fighting till it's over. We were always thinking make one more push, make one more push."

After Dallas coach Rick Carlisle called out Durant while complaining during the off day over what he essentially said were dirty plays by the Thunder in Game 3, the teams had a confrontation in front of the Oklahoma City bench early in the second quarter.

That flare-up started when Anthony Morrow, who was sitting on the bench, refused to give the ball to Salah Mejri after the Thunder threw it out of bounds.

Dallas guard J.J. Barea confronted Morrow, a former Maverick who then shoved Barea. Westbrook and Mejri ended up nose-to-nose in a shouting match before all the players were separated by coaches and officials.

Westbrook and Mejri got double technicals, and the Thunder were called for delay of game.

In the second half, Westbrook appeared to shout an expletive toward the fans after getting tangled up with Mejri on a drive. Mejri, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a right hip injury, was called for a foul.

Durant's hard foul on Anderson, who went to the same high school as Durant near Washington, came with 50 seconds left. And 30 seconds later, Ibaka got a technical for throwing an elbow at Charlie Villanueva.

"The name of the game is come out and play basketball and that's what we've done the last two games, especially here," Westbrook said. "We know a lot of their game is to kind of muck up the game and I think we're doing a great job of staying above it."

Besides calling out Durant during the off day for the elbow that led to the NBA's technical foul Friday, Carlisle said there were three other "non-basketball physical escalations that were initiated by them." He had no interest in continuing the discussion after the game.

"I'm not talking about that," he said after cutting off the first question. "You got questions about basketball?"

Injury Woes

Carlisle said point guard Deron Williams was finished for the season after he lasted all of 89 seconds trying to return in his continuing battle with a sports hernia that kept him out of Game 3. He limped to the locker room with 10:31 remaining.

Williams aggravated what is being called a left abdominal strain while chasing a loose ball and running into the scorer's table just 40 seconds into the game.

Barea played despite a right groin strain that kept him out of Game 2 and will limit him as long as the series lasts. He had his worst game, going scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting.

Supporting Cast

Despite 36 percent shooting from Westbrook and Durant (14 of 39), the Thunder shot 53 percent. It's the second straight game above 50 percent after they shot 34 percent in the Game 2 loss. Ibaka had 16 points on 7-on-11 shooting, Steven Adams added 14 while going 5 of 7 and Dion Waiters had 12 on 4-of-5 shooting.


Thunder: Oklahoma City has won seven of eight against Dallas this season, including the regular season. The Thunder have also won seven of eight in the playoffs since losing to Dallas in the 2011 Western Conference finals. Oklahoma City swept a first-round series the next year.

Mavericks: Nowitzki passed Elgin Baylor (3,623 points) for 15th on the NBA's career playoff scoring list after passing Wilt Chamberlain (3,607) in Game 3. Nowitzki now has 3,639 points. ... Raymond Felton had 19 points and a playoff career-high 11 assists. Wesley Matthews also scored 19.

By Schuyler Dixon, AP Sports Writer. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Gayly – April 24, 2016 @ 12:15 p.m.