Dallas, TX – Kevin Durant scored 31 points on Thursday and the Oklahoma City Thunder dismantled the Dallas Mavericks, 95-79, in Game 3 of this quarterfinal series.
Russell Westbrook added 20 points, James Harden scored 10 and Serge Ibaka finished with 10, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
The Thunder, who won the first two games of this series by a combined four points, never trailed in Game 3 and led by as many as 26. They will look for a sweep of this best-of-seven set on Saturday in Dallas.
"This was a Game 7 for us. We needed it, it was a must-win for us, and we came out with that intensity," said Harden. "Same thing for next game as well."
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 17 points while Jason Kidd added 12 and Jason Terry finished with 11. The defending NBA champs shot just 34.2 percent from the field in the setback.
In Game 2, it was Durant who struggled to make shots. The regular season's leading scorer shot just 5-of-17 in the 102-99 win but was back to his efficient self on Thursday, which resulted in an early Thunder advantage.
Durant scored 15 points in the first quarter and made 3-of-4 three-pointers. His final trey of the frame had the Thunder up 28-13 but Dallas closed strong and was down 32-26 on Vince Carter's three shortly before the buzzer.
It was 50-41 at the half and the Mavericks opened the third quarter with a dunk from Ian Mahinmi and a layup from Kidd to pull within five. From there Oklahoma City reeled off a 13-5 run to take control.
Westbrook had nine points during the decisive surge, which made it 63-50 midway through the period, and Derek Fisher tallied two of his 10 points with a driving bank shot for a 75-57 Thunder lead after three.
Daequan Cook, who finished with nine points, drained a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter to give Oklahoma City its largest lead at 86-60.
"They came out firing," said Carter. "They hit us first, at home, in a game that we needed. We have to hit first and you know the rest is history."
Durant shot 11-for-15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range...As a team, Oklahoma City shot 42.4 percent and made 12-of-28 threes...Dallas was 7-of-22 from three-point range.