NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 16th (All times Eastern)
Dallas Mavericks (39-27) at Oklahoma City Thunder (48-17), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder have won two straight and will close out a homestand Sunday night when the Dallas Mavericks come to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder started the residency with an eight-point victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. Two days later, OKC destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers in a revenge game, 131-102. The Lakers beat the Thunder in LA last Sunday.
Kevin Durant continued his ascent up the ladder in terms of NBA history as the Thunder posted a season-high in points. Durant, who totaled 29 points, has scored at least 25 in 30 straight games. That is the longest stretch of his career and represents the most by an NBA player since Michael Jordan put together 40 straight contests of scoring a minimum of 25 points during the 1986-87 season.
Russell Westbrook also scored 29 and dished out nine assists for Oklahoma City. The Thunder also received 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks from Serge Ibaka, and won for the fifth time in seven contests overall and for the fifth consecutive time at home.
The Thunder also did their job on the defensive end, holding the Lakers under 40 percent from the floor.
"Our disposition has been different the last two games," said Caron Butler, who added 11 points in the win. "If you want to be a contender in this league on a night-to-night basis, you have to start on the defensive end."
The Thunder hit the road for three straight, starting Monday night in Chicago. They will also visit the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors on the sojourn.
The Mavs have won three of four, but are 1-3 in their last four on the road. Dallas will return home for a long stretch, eight straight, after Sunday's tilt.
Dirk Nowitzki had 31 points and eight rebounds and the Mavericks pulled away for a 108-101 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
Monta Ellis added 16 points and 11 assists and Devin Harris scored 12 off the bench for the Mavericks, who snapped a three-game road losing streak, bouncing back from a 23-point loss to Golden State Tuesday to open a three-game trek.
Wayne Ellington chipped in 11 and Jose Calderon scored 10 points.
"We knew this was a big game," Nowitzki said. "After dropping one (Tuesday) and a bad offensive night, we talked about how we had to set a more aggressive offensive tone tonight. And I think that's what we did."
The Mavericks made five of their six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and shot 60 percent overall in the period to pull away. They shot 53.2 percent for the game and 62 percent from long range.
The Thunder have won seven straight regular-season games against the Mavs and five in a row as the host in this series.
03/16 10:27:34 ET