For the second straight game, Oklahoma City allowed a fourth quarter lead to evaporate over the final moments as Dallas punched its ticket to the NBA Finals with a 100-96 win Wednesday night in Dallas.
The Thunder led 90-83 after a dunk by Nick Collison with 5:49 remaining, but were outscored 17-to-6 the rest of the way.
Oklahoma City led by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter behind the play of Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
Harden scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half. Westbrook led all scorers with 31 points. Kevin Durant finally found his stroke from 3-point range, finishing with 23 points, but none over the final 3:38.
Leading the way for the Mavericks was Shawn Marion, who scored 26 points and had several critical rebounds and three blocked shots.
Dirk Nowitzki also scored 26.
The Mavericks advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2006. The season ends for Oklahoma City, who just two years ago were 3-and-29 through the first two months of the season.
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