Short-Handed Thunder Shock Mavericks

Greg EvansCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2009

Despite playing without their two top scorers, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, the Thunder beat the playoff-bound Dallas Mavericks 96-87 Monday night.

Nenad Krstic had 26 points, which was his best performance in a Thunder uniform. Russell Westbrook recorded his first career triple-double in a game where he was the dominant player in OKC's offense. This is yet another great example as to why this young player has the potential to become an All-Star.

Oklahoma City had a 48-44 lead at halftime and never looked back.

Four Thunder players scored in double figures as they made up for the loss of Oklahoma City's star players. Oklahoma City's defense kept Dallas star, Dirk Nowitzki, under 30 points for the first time in their three meetings this season.

This game was a major statement for Oklahoma City's young players. This game showed that this team doesn't just revolve around Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

If they continue to develop, they have the possibility of becoming a force in the stacked Western Conference—especially when Durant and Green return from their injuries.