The AP reports:

dirk nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki shrugged off a rough start and made a few key jumpers in the fourth quarter, helping the Mavericks hold off the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 93-87 victory Saturday night and a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals.

The big German had missed 10 of his first 14 shots, but Dallas kept going to him with the Thunder trying to become the second team to rally from a 23-point deficit to beat the Mavericks in these playoffs…

The Mavericks didn’t care that Nowitzki couldn’t seem to make a shot most of the game. They still gave him the ball on 10 of 11 possessions at one point, and he scored three times—enough to keep Oklahoma City at bay.

Nowitzki finished with 18 points on 7 for 21 shooting…

NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant also struggled from the field, hitting just 7 of 22 shots to finish with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Russell Westbrook responded to a fourth-quarter benching with 30 points, helping the Thunder make it interesting in the final minutes.

Dallas had already blown a 23-point lead in the final 13 minutes in the first round at Portland, and led by 22 with 17 minutes to go this time…

Shawn Marion also scored 18, and Kidd and Terry each chipped in 13. Tyson Chandler had 15 rebounds, including six on the offensive end…

The Thunder missed 15 of their first 19 shots and committed eight turnovers while Dallas rushed out to a commanding 35-12 lead, finishing the impressive start by scoring the first eight points of the second quarter.