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Durant leads Thunder past Mavericks

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POSTED December 29, 2011 11:06 p.m.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 30 points and hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 104-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference finals.

The Thunder let Dallas wipe away a five-point deficit in the final 46 seconds to go ahead on Vince Carter’s 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining. That was just enough time for Oklahoma City to get the ball to Durant, who drilled a 3 from the right wing that improved his team to 4-0.

Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mavericks, whose title defense is off to an 0-3 start.

Russell Westbrook had 16 points and seven turnovers in another subpar performance, but he made up for it with a few critical plays down the stretch.

ROCKETS 105, SPURS 85

HOUSTON (AP) — Kevin Martin scored 25 points, Luis Scola added 18 and Kyle Lowry had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Houston.

The Rockets took advantage of the Spurs’ poor shooting at the start to build a big lead. First-year Houston coach Kevin McHale was able to rest his starters in the fourth quarter, with his team playing the first of three games on consecutive nights.

DeJuan Blair scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for San Antonio, which shot 38 percent (35 of 93) and went 2 for 17 from 3-point range. Tim Duncan went 1for 8 from the field and scored four points and Richard Jefferson went 2 for 10 and with five points.

MAGIC 94, NETS 78

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Anderson scored 22 points, Dwight Howard had 16 points and 24 rebounds and Orlando had little trouble handling New Jersey.

Jason Richardson added 16 points for the Magic — including 15 in the first half — and J.J. Redick scored 15 points off the bench.

It was the 49th career 20-rebound game for Howard, who neared his career high of 26 rebounds.

Rookie forward MarShon Brooks led the Nets with 17 points. Deron Williams missed his first six shots and finished 2 of 12 from the field with 10 points.

LAKERS 99, KNICKS 82

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 28 points in yet another dynamic performance against the Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter for their ninth straight victory over New York.

Pau Gasol had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Lakers, who have won two straight after a 0-2 start to the compressed season.

Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points in his first showdown with Bryant since joining the Knicks, and Amare Stoudemire had 15 points on 4-for-17 shooting as New York again struggled down the stretch in the middle stop of a three-game West Coast road trip.

Steve Blake scored 11 points and hit two big 3-pointers while the Lakers opened the fourth quarter with a 17-3 run, taking a 22-point lead and forcing the Knicks to miss nine of their first 10 shots while committing seven turnovers. Bryant didn’t even need to score in the fourth quarter, contributing three assists as Los Angeles roared away.

The Lakers have dominated this rivalry between the signature teams from the nation’s two largest cities in recent years, winning every meeting since February 2007 with Bryant averaging more than 34 points per game.

Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 11 rebounds in his hometown for the Knicks, whose nine-game skid against the Lakers is their longest current stretch against any opponent.

TRAIL BLAZERS 111, NUGGETS 102

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Wesley Matthews had 25 points, including five 3-pointers in the second half, and Portland defeated Denver to stay undefeated after three games this season.

Raymond Felton had 23 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:45 left as the Blazers pulled away from the Nuggets, who knotted the game at 98 midway through the fourth quarter.

Portland, which opened the season with wins over Philadelphia and Sacramento, led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but the team was plagued by 25 turnovers.

Ty Lawson had 25 points and eight steals for the Nuggets, who dropped their first game of the season. Denver was coming off a 117-100 victory over Utah on Wednesday night.

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