Starting 5


Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Durant's day in Dallas

Matt Strasen/AP Photo/Artesia (N.M.) NewsKevin Durant is largely thought of as one of the great scorers in the NBA. Yet, Durant has only reached the mythical 50-point mark once in his career in the regular season. At least, before Friday.

Durant put on a scoring show for the majority of the game in scoring a career-high 52 points, hitting 5 of his 9 3-point attempts and all 21 of his free throws, becoming just the eighth player to make 20 free throws and be perfect from the foul line in NBA history.

It is simply amazing sometimes the ease in which Durant scores. And he helped propel Oklahoma City forward as the team held on in overtime for a 117-114 win. As you can see, Oklahoma City needed every single point from Durant.

The way Durant was scoring and OKC was executing, it seemed like Dallas might get run out of the building. The Mavericks though had a lot of fight and the Thunder's execution faltered late.

Dirk Nowitzki struggled for most of the game, but turned things around in the fourth quarter and overtime, getting to the line and looking a lot like his pre-injury self. Elton Brand did too, with several key plays down the stretch. The biggest play came from O.J. Mayo who sank the game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation.

Dallas is playing very well and this loss probably will not take too much out of having its 4-game win streak snapped. This game though became about Durant and his mastery.

The scary part? All he could think to say to ESPN after the game was that all he can do is improve.

2: Like old times

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images/ZimbioBoston got two starters into the All-Star Game but that did not stop the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls from ruining the party. And it felt like 2009 again with buzzer beaters and overtimes in Bean Town between these two franchises.

Kirk Hinrich forced overtime with his jumper and then the back-and-forth game ended when Marco Belinelli hit a turnaround jumper over Kevin Garnett for the win. The Celtics, without a timeout, got a forced Courtney Lee 3-pointer that missed and the game was over.

Chicago had stolen one.

It was one of the classic matchups between these two games — no Ben Gordon required. It had everything you could ask for. Joakim Noah and Kevin Garnett were jawing at each other like they would in those old days and Rajon Rondo and Carlos Boozer had big performances. It was a very competitive game between two teams that probably do not like each other.

And it made everyone forget the fact that Luol Deng left the game early with an injury and Chicago looked a bit lost without two of its best players — Derrick Rose did take some jumpers pregame.


Jrue Holiday forces OT

Caution: Paul George may block your shot

Josh Smith gives Lopez a poster

4: Line of the Night: Kevin Durant — 52 points, 13/31 FGs, 5/9 3FGs, 21/21 FTs, 9 rebs.

Not much more probably needs to be said about Durant's big night. He did everything about as well as he could. When his shots were not falling in the fourth quarter and overtime, he found his way to the line where he was perfect. When his team needed him to step up in overtime, he made the plays — and the shots — to win it. To think this was just his second regular season 50-point game is just insane. I have a feeling we will see plenty more.

5:  You can quote me on that

I know it was a crazy shot but the ball was going in so good for us.

Bulls guard Marco Belinelli on his game-winning shot

Paul George, I think, solidified it tonight. I don’t think there’s any doubt. . . . All they have to do is look at this game.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel on Paul George's All-Star chances

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily