With the Thunder playing in Chicago Monday, they took the
opportunity to rest Westbrook Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Thunder were already down two starters and were facing a hungry
team trying to stay in playoff contention. It was too much to
overcome for even MVP candidate Kevin Durant as the Thunder fell to
the Mavs 109-86 Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The 23-point loss represented the largest margin of defeat for the
Thunder this season, but it was not enough to make the Thunder
second-guess resting their star point guard.
"The temptation doesn't even go through our mind," Thunder coach
Scott Brooks said. "We have a plan and we're going to stick with
Regardless, it was a big win for Dallas, which snapped an 11-game
losing streak to Oklahoma City and held onto its seventh-place
position in the Western Conference.
"This is a tough place to play," Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki said.
"Obviously, Westbrook getting the night off helped us. It's really
only a good thing if you win the game. I've played plenty of games
in my career before, where people were resting and we still lost. So
it's only an advantage if you take care of business."
With Westbrook sitting out, the Oklahoma City offense ran through
Durant much of the night. However, the team didn't respond like it
had when Durant ran the offense during Westbrook's injury absence.
Oklahoma City found itself down by 21 points heading into the fourth
No matter what Oklahoma City (48-18) tried, Dallas had an answer to
rebuff any fourth-quarter rallies. From 3-pointers by forward Vince
Carter to fade-away jumpers by Nowitzki, the Mavericks (40-27)
scored at will to start the quarter and put the contest away early.
"Vince was hot tonight," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We rode
him in the third and fourth quarters. His shot-making probably put
the game away for us. He's one of those guys that has the rare
ability to rise up over people from deep, and hit two or three big
Forward Shawn Marion paced the Mavs with 19 points. Carter came off
the bench to score 18 points while Nowitzki added 17 on 6-of-12
shooting. Guard Jose Calderon had 16 points and seven assists.
Durant led all scorers with 30 points on 8-for-20 shooting. It was
his 31st straight game scoring at least 25 points.
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Forward Serge Ibaka added 19 points and six rebounds for the
Thunder. Guard Reggie Jackson, who started in Westbrook's place, had
13 points and three assists.
Dallas came out firing from behind the arc in the first period. Led
by Calderon, the Mavericks were 4-of-8 from 3-point range as they
took a 29-23 lead.
After falling behind by 10, Durant and Ibaka picked up the scoring
for the Thunder. They closed the deficit to 50-46 before Marion led
the Mavs on a 9-2 run to end the half.
"It seemed like we weren't there," Durant said. "We were just
coasting. There's no excuse. You've got to figure it out. We've just
got to do it. We're pros."
NOTES: Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook sat out Sunday's game
against Dallas. Coach Scott Brooks said it was planned that
Westbrook would be rested in back-to-back games since he returned
from injury on Feb. 20. Westbrook will be available on Monday at
Chicago. ... Dallas G Shane Larkin was featured in a documentary on
Saturday titled Summer Dreams. A film crew followed Philadelphia
76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams and Larkin around last summer.
"CBS pretty much followed me around from before the draft, to the
draft, what I did training-wise to get you to the draft," Larkin
said. "And basically it films how summer league works for rookies
and guys who are out of the league trying to get back into the
league, and undrafted guys and a whole bunch of different aspects."
... The Thunder signed Tulsa 66ers G Mustafa Shakur to a 10-day
contract. Shakur was in uniform against Dallas. In the NBA
Development League, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.6 points, 4.6
rebounds and 6.7 assists in 20 games with the 66ers this season and
named the D-League Player of the Month for February.
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