THE FACTS: The Oklahoma City Thunder came back home to Chesapeake Energy Arena in a surly mood after losing in Cleveland their last time out, taking out their frustrations on a short-handed Dallas Mavericks squad on Monday night. The Thunder led by as many as 33 and beat the Mavs for the ninth straight game, this time by a final score of 112-91.
Russell Westbrook led OKC (36-12) with 24 points on 8-for-16 shooting. Kevin Durant added 19 while pulling down 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. Kevin Martin pumped in 17 points and Serge Ibaka had 12. None of the Thunder starters played in the fourth quarter.
Dallas (20-28) played without center Chris Kaman, who is recovering from a concussion and Vince Carter, who'd averaged 19 points against the Thunder this season, was a last minute scratch because of illness. Carter's absence crippled the Mavs' bench. Shawn Marion had a season-high 23 points on 10-for-14 shooting. Dirk Nowitzki was back in the lineup after missing a couple of games with a sprained hip but he struggled from the floor, hitting just 3 of his 11 shots and scoring just 10 points. Jae Crowder also had 10 for the Mavs.
The first two games played by these teams this season went into overtime, but this one was over early with the Thunder zipping out to a big lead in the second quarter and cruising the rest of the way.
QUOTABLE: "The last couple weeks have been choppy at times for us, but one thing you can say about our guys -- our guys compete. They work very hard and they did that again tonight. No one on our team is perfect but you always see a lot of good effort."
--Thunder coach Scott Brooks
THE STAT: In the second quarter the Thunder shot 73.7 percent (14-for-19) and held the Mavericks to just 39.1 percent shooting (9-for-23). The Thunder outscored Dallas 39-22 in the quarter, including 10-0 on the fast break, building a lead of 27 points.
TURNING POINT: The Thunder went on a 39-12 run from the last two minutes of the first quarter to the last two minutes of the second, blowing open a game that had been tied at 22. The run was sparked by the second unit which came in and clamped down on defense and forced Dallas into several turnovers.
QUOTABLE II: "When we substituted, we struggled. Not having Vince [Carter] out there was a big factor. We've got to play better too, that's where it's at."
--Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle
QUOTABLE III: "I didn't think we had enough playmakers out there and we had some stupid turnovers, that always gets us in trouble. One time we couldn't even get the ball inbounds. Sometimes they swarmed us and that always gets us in trouble."
-- Dirk Nowitzki
HOT: Dallas started out shooting 73.3 percent (11-for-15) in the first 10 minutes of the game...Marion was 4-for-5 in the first quarter. ... OKC shot 57.5 percent (23-for-40) in the first half. ... Durant (3-for-3), Westbrook (3-for-3) and Ibaka (2-for-2) were a combined 8-for-8 (26 points) in the second quarter. ... Marion was 4-for-5 in the third quarter. ... OKC was 9-for-10 on the fast break (25 points) through three quarters.
NOT: Durant and Westbrook were a combined 3-for-12 in the first quarter. ... Dallas was 0-for-6 on 3-pointers in the first half.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Olympic gold medalist in the 800 meters from 1968, Madeline Manning Mims, sang a rousing rendition of the National Anthem. Mrs. Mims is also a member of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and lives in Tulsa.
GOOD MOVE: Brooks said before the game "we've gotta play better defense," coming off a poor second half performance in Cleveland. However, the starters didn't have much defensive energy at the beginning of the game allowing Dallas to shoot over 70 percent in the first 10 minutes. Brooks brought his second unit in and that did the trick as the Mavs went 0-for-6 and turned the ball over once in the last two minutes of the first quarter.
BAD MOVE: Durant leads the Thunder in several different categories including one he'd rather not, technical fouls. Durant picked up his ninth Technical of the season tonight for arguing a call. Coming into this season, Durant had only been whistled for 12 Technicals in his entire career.
NOTABLE: The 68 first half points scored by Oklahoma City are the most given up by Dallas in a first half this season and ties for the most scored by the Thunder. OKC also scored 68 first half points against the Rockets on December 29th. ... Oklahoma City is now 11-1 in games following losses this season and 46-10 in those situations over the last three seasons.
UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Wednesday vs. Portland, Saturday vs. Golden State, Monday vs. Atlanta. For the Thunder, Wednesday vs. Golden State, Friday vs. Phoenix, Sunday @ Phoenix.