Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle will miss today's 7 p.m. contest against the Thunder inside Oklahoma City Arena after having knee surgery during his team's holiday break.
Carlisle told the Dallas Morning News he had â€œminorâ€ arthroscopic surgery and the team's medical staff suggested he not travel. Assistant Dwane Casey will coach the Mavs.
Carlisle has been bothered by problems with his left knee and often has worn a brace or sleeve.
GOOD AND WELL-RESTED
As if the 23-5 Mavericks needed any help, they're working on six days rest heading into tonight's contest.
In the season's previous meeting on Nov. 24 in OKC, the Mavs scored 10 straight points in just 57 seconds and it came on just three field goals â€” three 3-pointers, which included a four-point play from Dirk Nowitzki.
The Thunder led 75-64 in the third quarter, but wound up losing 111-103. Nowitzki scored 34, with 17 coming in the final quarter. Off-season acquisition Tyson Chandler had 17 points and 18 rebounds.
â€œThey have veteran players who have no other agenda other than winning basketball games,â€ Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. â€œHe (Chandler) is showing how good he is. He rebounds, he's scoring more. The game he had against us was a big factor.â€
NOT THINKING 50
Kevin Durant entered the fourth quarter Saturday having already scored 40 points against Denver. Was there any thought to making sure Durant hit the 50-point mark for the first time in his career on Christmas night?
â€œIt never even crossed my mind,â€ Brooks said. â€œI don't believe in that. I believe that if you get 50 and it's within the game and it's on good shots, (then) get it, as long as it's all great intentions. You don't want to disrespect your opponent. If the score is tied or a close game and we have to keep scoring buckets, we're going to go to the guy who has a hot hand. You try to win the game and you try to get good shots.â€
Durant finished with 44 points, hitting 14 for 20 from the field, 4 for 7 from 3-point range and 12 for 15 from the free-throw line. Durant also had seven rebounds and four assists.
â€œHe was as hot as he's been all year and he could have easily taken some of those shots,â€ Brooks said of Durant. â€œHe plays the right way and makes passes.â€
Reserve power forward Nick Collison took another charge on Saturday and now has 19 in 22 games this season. â€¦ In the second half, Denver had 10 fewer points (58-48) and shot 11.2 percent less (58.3-47.1) from the field. â€¦ Former Midwest City High School standout Shelden Williams did not play for the Nuggets. His wife, women's basketball great Candace Parker, attended the game. â€¦ The Thunder has climbed to No. 7 in the league in scoring (103.9), but remains dead last in 3-point percentage (.322).
The Thunder, which leads the league in free-throw percentage (.844), attempted (972) and made (820), went 30 for 35 at the line against Denver. â€œI thought one of (our) game plans was to not foul.â€ â€“ Nuggets coach George Karl.