(The Sports Xchange) - Raymond Felton was embarrassed.
After the Dallas Mavericks were blown out by 38 points in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the veteran point guard was couldn’t believe the display his team put on.
However, Felton didn’t let the mood last long. Going into Game 2, he knew the Mavs would be short-handed, yet he scored 21 points to lift Dallas to an 85-84 victory over the Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, evening the series at one game apiece.
“We showed what type of fight we have,” Felton said. “It was difficult. You’re missing a lot of key guys. But we fought, kept going, kept grinding, and we got it done.”
Felton shot 8-for-16 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki added 17 points for Dallas, while Deron Williams scored 13.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant endured one of the worst shooting nights of his playoff career with a 7-for-33 outing for 21 points. Russell Westbrook posted 19 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
Durant tied Michael Jordan for the NBA postseason record for most field-goal attempts missed in a game.
“Just a bad shooting night for me. I‘m going to have nights like that,” Durant said. “That’s part of the game. I just have to keep staying confident. And my teammates and my coaches stay confident in me. They told me to keep shooting tonight, so I did. I didn’t make them, so that is a part of it. Get ready for Game 3.”
Game 3 is Thursday in Dallas.
“Now we have to go and protect our house,” Felton said. “We were able to steal one here, but we can’t let them steal one.”
With Dallas up by one and seven seconds to play, Felton was fouled and missed both free throws. The Thunder got the rebound, took the ball the length of the court, and Durant missed a layup. Westbrook missed an attempted tip-in before Thunder center Steven Adams tipped the ball in, but it was a split second after the buzzer.
Trailing 69-68, the Thunder went on an 8-0 run spearheaded by a Durant dunk and a 3-pointer from Serge Ibaka. It looked as if the Mavs were finally about to succumb to Oklahoma City’s talent.
However, Dallas responded with a 10-2 run to retake lead at 79-78 with 4:40 left.
After a free throw from Durant, the game was tied. Adams put the Thunder ahead with a put-back off a Westbrook missed layup.
The score was 81-81 with 1:59 left. Westbrook turned the ball over, but Dallas guard Wesley Matthews missed a 3-point attempt.
After another Durant missed shot, Felton made Oklahoma City pay with a driving layup over Adams.
“I just missed them, missed them,” Durant said. “Everything looked good. Coach drew up some good plays. My teammates set great screens, Russell delivered the ball perfect. It was on me after that. I just have to make them.”
With 28 seconds left, the Thunder got the ball to Durant. As he made his move toward the basket, the ball flew out of bounds, but it was ruled to have gone off a Mavericks player.
With Matthews guarding him, Durant missed a 3-pointer from the corner. Matthews chased down the loose ball and turned it into a fastbreak layup to give Dallas a four-point advantage.
“This game is up there because I didn’t have that swag from my offense to help on the defensive end,” said Matthews, who scored six points on 3-of-11 shooting. “I was just trying to leave everything on the floor.”
The Thunder came back to Durant, and he finally buried a 3-pointer with 9.5 seconds left. That set up the frantic finish with Felton’s missed free throws and Adams’ disallowed hoop.
“Tonight we just found a way to outlast them, and that’s just a credit to our guys,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
The Thunder won the rebound battle 54-45. However, they were only able to force the Mavs into 12 turnovers, despite Dallas being without starting point guard J.J. Barea (groin). The Mavs’ bench outscored the Thunder’s reserves 26-21.
The Mavericks seemed to come into the game with the intent of getting into the heads of Oklahoma City’s emotional players. It began during player introductions when Charlie Villanueva interrupted Westbrook and Cameron Payne’s pregame dance. That did not sit well with Westbrook, who pushed Villanueva out of the way and danced even harder.
“That’s for the guys that don’t play,” Westbrook said of Villanueva’s actions.