OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks didn't care if Oklahoma City was without star guard Russell Westbrook. They were just glad to finally beat the Thunder.
Shawn Marion scored 19 points, Vince Carter added 18 and the Mavericks rolled past Oklahoma City 109-86 on Sunday night, ending a seven-game regular-season losing streak to the Thunder.
Dallas beat Oklahoma City for the first time since Jan. 2, 2012. In addition to the seven straight regular-season losses to the Thunder, the Mavericks also were swept in a 2012 playoff series.
"We played well," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "Look, they're down a great player, so we caught a break there. But you've still got to go out and play and they've had a great record with and without Westbrook. It's a game we needed. We need every one, the battle that we're in. We did good things. We had to clean some things up at halftime with rebounding. We did. We had four good quarters."
Oklahoma City played without three usual starters — the injured Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha in addition to Westbrook. With the team wanting to ease Westbrook back into gear after his most recent knee surgery — which cost him 27 games — he was given the game off to rest. The Dallas game was the opener of what will be three back-to-backs on the Thunder schedule by March 25.
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said Westbrook will return Monday when the Thunder visit the Chicago Bulls.
Kevin Durant scored 30 points for Oklahoma City, his 26th straight game of 25 points or more, the longest such streak since Michael Jordan did so in 40 straight games during the 1986-87 season. But with most of the Thunder's other players struggling offensively, that wasn't enough to make up for Westbrook's absence.
Brooks said his team lacked energy and effort and Durant agreed with that assessment, saying the Thunder "just coasted" as they fell two games behind San Antonio in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Durant refused to blame the absence of the three starters for the team's lackluster performance.
"There is no excuse," he said. "We've got to figure it out. We've each got to do it. We're pros. ... We've got to act like we care. It will be all right. We've got another one tomorrow."
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