Kevin Durant's struggles in clutch grow

Updated: May 24, 2011, 3:51 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Back-to-back NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant's struggles in the clutch continued when his potential game-winning 3-pointer was stuffed by Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion.

The miss with 1.9 seconds remaining in regulation dropped Durant to 2 of 14 this season on potential game-winning or tying shots in the final 10 seconds, according to ESPN Stats and Information. That includes two misses in the playoffs for the Oklahoma City Thunder's 22-year-old superstar.

This miss allowed the Mavericks, who erased a 15-point deficit with a 17-2 run in the final five minutes of regulation, to win Game 4 of the Western Conference finals in overtime and take a 3-1 lead in the series.

The young Thunder's problems executing their halfcourt offense in pressure situations gets much of the blame for Durant's poor shooting percentage with the game on the line. In this case, Durant settled for a 30-footer after the Thunder inbounded the ball with 6.4 seconds remaining in a tie game.

"I didn't have anything else to do," Durant said. "I caught the ball almost at the halfcourt line, seen three Mavericks in front of me and had three seconds on the clock. I didn't know what else to do."

Added Thunder coach Scott Brooks: "That last one wasn't well-executed, but they did a good job pushing us out and taking us off the spot. We have to be stronger. We have to be able to push back without getting the foul."

It was part of a frustrating night for Durant, who appeared primed for an epic performance after going 5-of-5 from the floor for 10 points in the first 4:06. But Durant, who was doubled often and consistently guarded tight by Marion, made only four of his final 17 field-goal attempts and committed nine turnovers.

"I feel upset because I let them down," Durant said of the home crowd. "I let the city down."

Durant, who finished with 29 points, didn't score after his 3-pointer stretched the Thunder's lead to 15 with 5:06 remaining in regulation.

The Thunder scored only six points in the final 10:06, including overtime. Durant missed his final six shots, including the potential game-winner.

"He had no time," Marion said of the play at the end of regulation. "How much did he have, two seconds? He had nowhere to go."

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.

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