The Dallas Mavericks kept winning even when top reserve Jason Terry was hampered by an injury. It would be unrealistic to expect sustained success out of the Oklahoma City Thunder without star forward Kevin Durant.
These teams meet for the second time in four nights Monday, when Terry and the surging Mavericks face a Thunder team that may be without Durant for the second straight contest.
Terry - Dallas’ second-leading scorer with 19.7 points per game - broke a bone in his non-shooting hand in an overtime win over Chicago on Feb. 7. The Mavericks (36-23), though, posted a 5-3 record in his absence.
Terry returned to the lineup Sunday night, scoring eight points off the bench in a 109-98 victory over Toronto that completed a 3-0 homestand.
“I thought my conditioning would be the part that I had to worry about, but I think I did a great job of staying in shape,” said Terry, who played 19 minutes.
Dirk Nowitzki, who averaged 21.4 points while Terry was sidelined, scored 24 and grabbed 10 rebounds Sunday, while Jason Kidd had nine points and 15 assists to become the fourth player in NBA history with at least 10,000 assists for his career.
“It means a lot of my teammates put the ball in the basket over the years,” said Kidd, with 10,002 assists since entering the league in 1994-95. “It’s nothing I ever thought I’d accomplish when I started out.”
With Terry still sidelined Friday night, Kidd and Nowitzki helped the Mavericks overcome a 12-point deficit for a 110-108 overtime victory over Oklahoma City (14-45).
Kidd had 13 assists and scored all 10 of his points in the extra period, while Nowitzki scored 17 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Durant exited Friday’s matchup with 4:21 remaining in the first after stepping on Dallas forward Josh Howard’s foot on a drive to the basket. X-rays were negative, but he has not played since and remains day-to-day with a sprained right ankle.
Among the league’s leading scorers with 26.0 points per game, Durant finished with a season-low six against the Mavericks. Rookie Russell Westbrook stepped up with 33 points for the Thunder, while Jeff Green added 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Both players also contributed in Durant’s absence Saturday night at Memphis. Green had 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Westbrook scored 25 points in a 99-92 victory that snapped a seven-game Oklahoma City losing streak.
Thabo Sefolosha, in his fourth game with the Thunder after they acquired him from Chicago, added season highs in points (15) and rebounds (11).
“That’s something we have to do with Kevin out, ” Westbrook said. “We’ve got to step up our game and get everyone involved. Make it a team game.”
Westbrook, third on the team with 15.8 points per game, is averaging 25.8 despite shooting just 39.5 percent in his last four contests.
Green is averaging 21.0 points and 11.2 rebounds in his last six games.
After he didn’t appear in the last eight contests, the Thunder agreed to release veteran forward Joe Smith - acquired from Cleveland in an August trade - on Sunday.