Thunder 112, Mavericks 91By Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Mon, Feb 4, 2013 10:40 PM EST
OKLAHOMA CITY -- When Dallas has taken on Oklahoma City this year, the Mavericks haven't looked like a team fighting to reach .500. In the two previous matchups, the Mavericks lost both, but the Thunder had to go into overtime each time. However, the Mavs reverted back to form of sorts Monday in the teams' third meeting. The Thunder dominated from the opening tap and rolled to a 112-91 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 24 points and added seven assists and three steals. Kevin Durant scored 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting, and he pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Durant's scoring average against the Mavs this year dropped from 46 points per game to 37. Kevin Martin added 17 points off the bench for the Thunder (36-12). Shawn Marion paced Dallas (20-28) with 23 points. However, after collecting a total of 28 rebounds in his previous two games, he was held to only one board against the Thunder. Dirk Nowitzki shot 3-for-11 and scored 10 points. In the opening period, the Mavs kept the game tight behind the play of Marion. The veteran forward hit four of five shots and blocked two Dallas shots. However, when the Thunder began to insert its bench with 2:20 left in the first, it went on a 22-6 run to take a 44-28 lead. The Oklahoma City reserves were able to get into the passing lanes and come up with steals that turned into fastbreak points. Without Vince Carter, who was ill, the Mavericks were missing a vital scoring punch off the bench. Coach Rick Carlisle hoped the other reserves would be able to pick up the slack, but they were unable to in the first half. It didn't get any better when the Thunder starters came back into the game. Durant and Westbrook kept the pressure on as the Mavs started to lose their composure. Dallas' O.J. Mayo and Jae Crowder exchanged shoves and stares with Kendrick Perkins and entire Thunder bench. Oklahoma City led 68-44 at halftime, setting a team scoring high for a half this season. The Mavericks got no closer than 20 points in the second half. Oklahoma City took its starters out late in the third quarter, and they never returned. The only news to come out of the second half was Durant picking another technical foul. Coming into this season, he had a total of 12 in his career. He has nine this season. If he acquires seven more, he would be suspended one game. NOTES: In his first two games against Dallas, NBA scoring leader Durant had a higher scoring average (46.0) than field-goal percentage (44.0). ... Westbrook is one of only two players to rank in the NBA's top 10 in scoring (22.6 ppg) and assists (8.3 apg) this season. ... Nowitzki made his return to the starting lineup after missing previous two games with a strained right thigh. The former All-Star has missed 29 games this season because of injury and is averaging 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. Both are the lowest averages since his rookie year. "Like any team in this league, if you don't have your best player, you are going to be in a tough position to win a lot of games consistently," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Dirk is one of the best shot-makers, players and teammates this league has ever seen."
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