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Ball Don't Lie

Kevin Durant gets shooter’s roll on go-ahead 3, puts OKC up 3-0 on Rockets (Video)

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

The Oklahoma City Thunder offense both thrived and struggled mightily in the team's first game without sidelined star point guard Russell Westbrook, jumping out to a 39-point first quarter and stagnating enough in the second half to allow the Houston Rockets back into things in Game 3 of their first-round series. With 45 seconds left, Rockets wing Francisco Garcia hit a 3-pointer to give his team a 99-97 lead, and it looked as if the Thunder's collapse might have helped the Rockets to their first win of the series.

[Related: Without Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant carries the Thunder]

Luckily for OKC, Kevin Durant got one of the friendliest rolls a shooter can possibly receive. On the next possession, KD pulled up from the top of the arc for a tough three-pointer over Garcia. The jumper initially clanged high off the back rim ... only to come down to the front rim, bounce to the back rim again, and roll into the hoop for the go-ahead basket. The Thunder never relinquished the lead again, forcing a turnover seconds later and making all four of their free throws to lock down a 104-101 win and a 3-0 lead in the series.

The bad news for the Thunder is that they may need similar forms of good fortune in the rest of the postseason. As our Kelly Dwyer notes, their offense looked overly reliant on Durant — who finished with a spectacular but uncharacteristically inefficient 41 points on 13 of 30 shooting from the field — and lacking the playmaking ability that Westbrook so regularly provides. Their saving grace could be that Durant's improbable shot gave them a great deal more wiggle room to figure out their postseason future.

(Original video via Beyond the Buzzer)

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