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Video: Kevin Durant hits the game-winning three to beat Lakers in Game 4

May 20, 2012, 2:40 AM EST

As Russell Westbrook led the charge offensively for the Thunder in their Game 4 win over the Lakers — finishing with a brilliant 37 points on 15-of-26 shooting — Kevin Durant seemed pleased to let that happen. But once the Thunder had made it all the way back from a deficit that hung at around 10 points for the majority of the night, Durant was the one to seal it, burying this three-pointer from the top of the arc to send his team back home with a 3-1 series lead, and a chance to close the Lakers out on Monday.

Each team had somewhat of a freak turnover right before this play unfolded. Westbrook slipped and lost the ball, on a floor that seemed slicker than usual all night long. Then, with the Lakers getting their chance to break the 98-all tie, Pau Gasol turned down a one-on-one situation on the baseline in favor of trying a cross-court pass to kick it out for an open three.

Durant intercepted the pass, then dribbled the clock down before pulling up for the three just as soon as his defender gave him enough space.

“I wanted to run the shot clock down and get the last shot,” Durant said, while walking us through that possession. “Standing up there I was just trying to look at the picture of the whole floor, and see where I can get the best shot possible. I had been going to the rim and they had been doing a great job swiping and contesting, so I saw Artest (Metta World Peace) back up just a hair, and I shot it.”

It seems like Durant — much like we’ve seen from Carmelo Anthony in similar situations — is so smooth from three-point distance that he’d almost prefer to get an open look at a shot from there than take his chances plowing into the paint, where there is far more uncertainty in late-game situations.

Even if that’s true, though, Durant knew he’d take some heat if his shot of choice didn’t go down.

“It left my hand, I was thinking, if this doesn’t go in, it’s going to be a terrible shot. They’re going to criticize me a lot. I had confidence in the shot, my teammates had confidence in me, and we just kept fighting. Russell did a great job of keeping us in it all night, and I just tried to do my job by finishing the game.”

Not only did he finish the game, but with the Lakers now trailing 3-1 heading back to Oklahoma City, he may have helped finish the series.

  1. gopokes0714 - May 20, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    3-1 !!!!!!!

    Looking forward to some real competition in the Spurs. Figures crossed we can pull it out and compete for a championship!

    • gopokes0714 - May 20, 2012 at 2:49 AM

      *Fingers

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - May 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      “We”? Are you suiting up?

  2. africanballer - May 20, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    this kid kevin durant….

    • therealroman - May 20, 2012 at 8:23 AM

      cold-blooded

      • p1nch3dloaf - May 20, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        assassin

  3. lucky5934 - May 20, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    “Kobe Bryant is a winning winner who wins”, EXCEPT when Durant hits a late 3. Seems like a passing of the torch from one clutch player to another in that front page espn.com picture.

  4. progress2011 - May 20, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    Game of 2 halves.

    First Half- lakers executed inside game (Bynum & Gasol) and led much of the first half, by double digits.

    Second Half- Mr. “wanna-be-like-Mike” jacked up almost every ball, he got his hands on. Shooting 2 for 10 . He shot 43% for the game.

    Barkley said ” He takes ill-advised shots and tough shots, they look good when they go in but they look stupid, when they don’t go in”.

    Not a big Barkley fan but he is absolutely correct. kobe caused them to lose this game….PERIOD !

  5. cantonbound13 - May 20, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    LeBron wishes he could be this clutch.

  6. cordae - May 20, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Priceless how every other teammate of his is all excited and hes just walkin around like ‘this s**t’s what i do” lol

    KD’s the man.

  7. itsmammoth - May 20, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Where’s Gus Johnson when you need him?

  8. lemfax - May 20, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    That’s what I’m talking about. The story is different if they put Durant on Kobe in the 4th qtr of the game 3 (and a mistake of playing fisher on the 4 qtr guarding Kobe).
    Kobe’s hearth is unbeatable but not the legs…

  9. 1historian - May 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    I am not now, never have been nor ever will be a fan of Kobe Bryant, but it must be said that he was carried off the field of battle ON his shield. He was the top gun, he has been dethroned in the only real way – on the court.

  10. 1historian - May 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I am not now, never have been nor ever will be a fan of Kobe Bryant, but it must be said that he was carried off the field of battle ON his shield. He was the top gun, he has been dethroned in the only real way – on the court.

    BTW – the broadcaster was about 2 seconds behind the shot. Poor.

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