NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, January 2nd (All times eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (5-0) at Dallas Mavericks (1-4), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Unbeaten Oklahoma City hopes to send another statement tonight when it visits the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.
The Thunder improved to a perfect 5-0 on Saturday when Russell Westbrook dropped a game-high 18 points and was one of six players in double-figures as the Oklahoma City topped the Phoenix Suns, 107-97, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Kevin Durant finished with 12 points and six rebounds, while Thabo Sefolosha and Daequan Cook contributed 12 points apiece for the Thunder. Nick Collison and James Harden donated 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Oklahoma City.
"The ball movement was good tonight. We turned it over a few too many times, but we were really moving the ball," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought we played well. It was a good win for us."
Dallas, meanwhile, continues to struggle mightily early in the season and fell to 1-4 on New Year's Day in Minneapolis when Kevin Love recorded a double- double with 25 points and 17 rebounds and the Timberwolves scored the game's final 15 points to take down the Mavericks, 99-82.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points for Dallas, which failed to build on its first win of the season against Toronto. Vince Carter scored just six points on 1- of-7 shooting for the Mavs.
"It's very difficult to play from behind in this league and you know it's become too much of an inconsistency and we've got to correct it," Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said.
Trailing 84-72 with 8:26 left in the final quarter, Dallas used a 10-0 run to pull within two, 84-82, with 5:35 to go. Nowitzki scored the final seven points of the run. But, the Timberwolves scored the last 15 points of the game, hitting four three-pointers during the stretch. Love -- who made 5-of-6 from three-point range -- and Anthony Tolliver each hit a pair with Ricky Rubio assisting on three of them.
Now the Mavericks will be trying to avoid their worst start since sputtering out to 1-8 back in 1998-99 against a team that has already gotten the best of them once this season. Back on Dec. 29 in OKC, Durant buried a buzzer-beating three to lift the Thunder to a 104-102 win.
Overall, the Thunder have won four of the past six meetings between the two clubs, while Dallas didn't record a fifth loss last season until its 24th game.
01/02 10:41:29 ET