The Oklahoma City Thunder visited the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night looking to avenge a 23-point drubbing suffered at home on March 16. Despite 43 points from Kevin Durant and a tie after 48 minutes, Dallas won the sloppy shootout 128-119 and dominated the overtime period.
Dirk Nowitzki sparkled with 32 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Jose Calderon hit six of Dallas' 15 three-pointers, and he finished with 22 points and eight assists. Monta Ellis chipped in 17 points and four steals.
Russell Westbrook played 33 minutes and flirted with a triple-double on 23 points, eight assists and seven boards, but he looked wildly out of sync at times and lost eight turnovers.
Both teams shot around 50 percent, and they combined to commit 41 turnovers resulting in 42 points.
Despite the ragged offense, the matchup could have been a playoff preview with the Mavs moving into eighth place with the victory, and the Thunder still in second place at 2.5 games back.
Dallas (43-29) is balled up with the Phoenix Suns (42-29) and Memphis Grizzlies (43-29), though Memphis has two games in hand. Every game is like a must-win now for the Mavs, and they host the L.A. Clippers on Thursday, which will be the first of two meetings between those teams in a week.
The Thunder are still pursuing the San Antonio Spurs for first place, but they must also hold off the Clippers who loom two games back. OKC gets a couple of tune-up games at home against the Sacramento Kings on Friday and Utah Jazz on Sunday. Then the Spurs come to town on April 3 before the team starts a four-game road swing.