|Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, dunks in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, March 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)|
Thunder rally late to beat Mavericks 95-91
OKLAHOMA CITY—Russell Westbrook scored 24 points, Kevin Durant added 22 and the Oklahoma City Thunder scored the final eight points to escape with a 95-91 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night and run their home winning streak to 13 games.
Westbrook answered Dirk Nowitzki's fourth 3-pointer of the final period by hitting one of his own from the right wing to get Oklahoma City within 91-90 with 2:25 remaining, and Dallas didn't score again.
Serge Ibaka hit two free throws with 46 seconds left to give Oklahoma City the lead, and Jason Terry missed two shots down the stretch for the Mavericks.
Nowitzki finished with 27 points but didn't touch the ball on a key possession when Dallas was down by two with 13 seconds left.
Instead, Terry and Jason Kidd passed the ball back and forth with Kidd getting stuck under the basket before tossing it right back. Terry missed on a short jumper along the right baseline that would have tied it, and Westbrook hit two free throws to ice it after grabbing the rebound.
James Harden had 16 points and Kendrick Perkins grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds for West-leading Oklahoma City.
Terry ended up with 18 points and Ian Mahinmi added 13 points, all in the first half, after being pressed into action when starting center Brendan Haywood was hurt just seconds into the game.
Already short-handed at center, the Mavericks lost Haywood on the opening possession of the game. Haywood won the tip-off, then got the ball inside before missing a shot and landing with his left foot on top of Perkins' left foot. He hobbled up the court to foul Durant and then headed to locker room and did not return.
Dallas was already without reserve center Brandan Wright because of a concussion.
Mahinmi had seven points, including a three-point play, during a 15-5 run late in the second quarter, and Kidd's 3-pointer from the top of the key made it 52-42 with 1:20 to go before halftime.
The Thunder scored the final three points of the first half and then were able to reverse a seven-point halftime deficit during the third quarter. Oklahoma City scored the first seven points after halftime to tie it at 52 on Westbrook's jumper from the right elbow with 9:24 left, then pulled ahead with another string of seven consecutive points late in the third.
Durant got ahead of the defense for a two-handed dunk and converted the ensuing free throw for a 68-61 Thunder lead with 1:33 remaining in the third.
The Mavericks answered right back, going on an 11-2 run to take a brief lead on Nowitzki's 3-pointer that made it 72-70 in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. It was tied four times before the final sequence.
Dallas suffered another tough loss after dropping its previous visit to Oklahoma City 104-102 loss when Durant hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Notes: Sean Williams played 3 minutes in the fourth quarter and was twice called for goaltending after being called up from the NBA Development League on Sunday to provide depth at center after Wright's concussion. "He'll be with us until Brandan gets back, and we don't know how long that's going to be. He's done a good job in the D-League with the Frisco team and we feel like it's important to have an extra body in case we need somebody," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ... Carlisle didn't want his team slowing the pace to combat Oklahoma City's athleticism. "One of the characteristics of our team last year when we won it was we got it up the floor quick and sometimes we didn't get a shot until the last 5 seconds but the ball kept moving and we just kept playing. This year, we're working toward being better at doing that." ... The Thunder moved to 7-1 this season following a loss.