MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

February 4, 2013

This one not close: No overtime needed as Thunder rout Mavericks

OKLAHOMA CITY – After two desperation shots and two overtime thrillers, the Oklahoma City Thunder were done playing close games against the Dallas Mavericks.

Russell Westbrook scored 24 points, Kevin Durant had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Thunder blew out Dallas 112-91 Monday night while avoiding a third straight overtime game between the teams.

“The last time they came in here, they hit us in the mouth early,” Durant said. “And I just told the guys that we’ve got to be the first hitter tonight and we’ve got to come out with a lot of energy, and I think we did that.”

The Mavericks had tied the first two meetings this season with 3-pointers at the very end, but there was no such drama the third time around.

Oklahoma City led by at least 20 throughout the second half, winning for the 10th time in 11 meetings between the teams since Dallas beat the Thunder in the 2011 Western Conference finals on its way to the NBA championship. That includes a four-game sweep of the Mavs in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

Shawn Marion was the lone bright spot for Dallas, hitting 10 of 14 shots and scoring 23 points. Dirk Nowitzki had 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting after missing the previous two games with a right adductor strain.

The Mavericks finished a four-game road trip 1-3, and now head home for their next five games – their second-longest stretch at the American Airlines Center.

“We don’t have any excuses. At this point, that would be lame to blame it on that,” said coach Rick Carlisle, who was denied in his first chance to earn his 500th career win. “We got two days of rest. We were in Phoenix for a couple days. Supposedly that air makes you feel better.”

He said the absence of reserve Vince Carter, who was out sick and missed his first game all season, was a factor, but “we’ve got to play better, too.”

“When you put these guys on the open floor with catastrophic turnovers, they’re going to make you look bad. I think that was it more than anything,” Carlisle said.

Kevin Martin chipped in 17 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which rested its starters in the fourth quarter and got some playing time for seldom-used reserves Perry Jones III and Daniel Orton. The Thunder have alternated wins and losses for their past nine games, and have lost two in a row only once this season.

“A good team usually responds to losses like that. I remember we used to be like that,” Nowitzki said.

“We responded well,” Durant said. “The toughest test is to see how we do the next game. It’s easy to do it.

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