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Thunder 96, Mavericks 87: Shorthanded? It makes no difference

by Berry Tramel Modified: March 3, 2009 at 5:37 am •  Published: March 3, 2009
The Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 96-87 Monday night at the roaring Ford Center, which is remarkable enough.

But the Thunder did it without injured stars Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. The Thunder did it patching together the kookiest lineups you’ve ever seen.

Like this one, at the start of the second quarter: Earl Watson and two guys, Thabo Sefolosha and Malik Rose, who two weeks ago were stuck on another team’s bench, and two guys, Damien Wilkens and Robert Swift, who for two months have been glued to the Thunder bench.

Who can explain it, who can tell you why? Fools give you reasons, wise men never try.

So I won’t play the fool. But somehow, some way, one of the NBA’s worst teams, playing without its two best players, took the stately Mavericks to the woodshed.

Which probably proves not much more than this: don’t ever write off a game in the NBA.

"That’s what you call a team win,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, using an old cliché that doesn’t always fit but certainly did this time.

Call it the most unlikely result in Oklahoma City’s three-season NBA history. A makeshift Thunder lineup whacked a Western Conference power fighting for its playoff life.

And for good measure, it was OKC’s first major-league win over Dallas. The Hornets were 0-8 against Dallas when they were stationed here.

Russell Westbrook was solid, with a triple double. Kyle Weaver was clutch, with two 3-pointers in the final six minutes that staved off Dallas rallies.