DALLAS • The Dallas Mavericks nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback from 17 points down in the fourth quarter, but the Oklahoma City Thunder survived their final defensive possession for a 109-106 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory on Friday at the American Airlines Centre.
"It was one of those games when you are on the road and it is never pretty," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said after his team (33-12) extended their winning run to seven.
"When you play against a good team, you have to weather some of those storms and some of those difficult moments, and I thought our guys did that."
The Mavs had threatened to send a fifth consecutive home game going to overtime, after they slashed their deficit to 103-107 late in the game.
Thunder star Kevin Durant then had his slam dunk attempt rejected by third-choice centre Salah Mejri, before Mavs point guard Deron Williams sent the sell-out crowd into a tizzy with a three-pointer to cut the Thunder lead to just one.
Durant sank a jumper with 54.8 seconds left to make it a three-point lead again.
Mavs guard Wesley Matthews then missed a three-pointer but, at the other end, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was called for a moving screen, giving Dallas the ball back with 17 seconds to go and a chance to add to their NBA-record home overtime streak.
However, Williams had his three-pointer tipped by Ibaka, forward Dirk Nowitzki could not connect on his three-point attempt and a third try from beyond the arc by forward Chandler Parsons also failed to drop, to their fans' dismay.
"We missed too many 50-50 balls. We got killed on the boards," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said, noting the Thunder's 47-33 rebounding advantage.
"It's not all about scoring. There are just too many other things that went wrong. The third quarter was a debacle; that was very poorly played by us and really well played by them. That doomed us."
Six Oklahoma players scored in double figures, led by Durant's 24 points. He also added seven assists.