NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, March 25th
(All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (52-18) at Dallas Mavericks (42-29), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Durant is making it easy for voters in his case
for league MVP.
Durant will try to keep his hot hand going and the voters tuned in Tuesday,
when the Oklahoma City Thunder take their four-game winning streak to Big D
for a showdown with the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
Durant didn't reach the 50-point mark in Oklahoma City's last win, a 117-96
blowout of the Denver Nuggets Monday night, but did enough with 27 points to
keep his scoring streak alive. Durant, who posted 51 points at Toronto last
Friday, has scored 25 or more points in 35 straight games, averaging 35.1
points in that time, and leads the NBA with 32.1 ppg.
The Thunder superstar is closing in on Michael Jordan's mark of 40 straight
games with at least 25 points. Jordan turned the trick during the 1986-87
Reggie Jackson posted his second-career double-double of 16 points and 11
assists, and delivered 25 points and 12 rebounds in the aforementioned win
over the Raptors.
"It's good for us to get wins like this and for everybody to be playing well,"
Jackson told the team's website. "We're just trying to play within the offense
and figure things out going into these playoffs."
Oklahoma City is two games behind sizzling San Antonio for the Western
Conference lead and has won six of seven games. The Thunder will try to extend
their road winning streak to four games and are 23-11 as the guest.
After taking in the scenes in Los Angeles, the Thunder will return home for
three straight games against Sacramento, Utah and San Antonio.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook missed the game against Denver with a sprained
knee and is day-to-day. He had 15 points against Toronto and has scored that
many in each of his last six games.
While the Thunder are averaging 106.0 points this season, the playoff-hopeful
Mavericks are not too far off with 104.6 ppg. Oklahoma City, though, is
holding opponents to 99.3 ppg and Dallas is allowing 102.3 points.
Dallas is 2-2 so far on a franchise-record eight-game homestand, which
continued with Sunday's 107-104 overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Monta Ellis scored a game-high 32 points and Vince Carter, Shawn Marion and
Samuel Dalembert chipped in 12 points apiece for the Mavericks, who have lost
two of their last three after winning five of six. Dalembert added 15 rebounds
and a season-high seven blocks in defeat.
The Nets used a 7-0 run for a 103-95 lead late in the extra period and Dallas
couldn't regroup, falling to 23-12 in Big D. Nets forward Joe Johnson tied the
game at 91-91 to send the game to overtime on a driving layup with 9.9 seconds
left in regulation.
"We were in great position and twice we couldn't get stops. Give them credit.
We put ourselves in that position without being able to get stops," said
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle.
Dirk Nowitzki had an off night and scored 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting. He
was averaging 23.0 ppg in his previous five games.
Dallas has allowed 100-plus points in three straight games and still has the
Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors to entertain
on its 16-day stay. The Mavs are tied with Phoenix for the eighth spot in the
West -- two games behind Golden State and a half-game in back of Memphis.
Portland is three games ahead of both the Suns and Mavericks at No. 5.
Mavericks guard Jose Calderon (facial injury) is day-to-day.
The Mavericks and Thunder have split two games this season with both games
played in Oklahoma City. The Thunder have won nine of the past 11 meetings
between the teams and are unbeaten in three straight trips to Dallas.
03/25 10:25:57 ET