OKC Thunder routs Mavericks
Russell Westbrook scores 24 points and Kevin Durant adds a double-double as OKC cruises to 112-91 victory.
Kevin Durant's ribs were fine.
His team's defense was even better.
The Oklahoma City Thunder rode both en route to a dominating 112-91 win over Dallas on Monday inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
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Durant, who sustained a right rib contusion in the second half of Saturday's loss at Cleveland, shook off the injury and took his customary place in the starting lineup against the Mavs. He didn't miss a beat, scoring 19 points with 10 rebounds and four assists while making six of 11 shots in 29 minutes.
“Just play,” Durant said when asked how he was able to block out the banged up rib. “At the end of the Cleveland game, I mean, I was hurting throughout the game. But your adrenaline takes over and I tried not to focus on it. If you think about it too much that's when it really starts to hurt. So I just tried to take my mind off of it and play the game. Tonight, I tried to do the same. I didn't want to shy away from contact or anything. I just wanted to play the game.”
Durant ended up getting a rest anyway.
No starter needed to play a second of the fourth quarter, as the Thunder built a 27-point first half advantage before leading by as many as 33.
After allowing 115 points to the Cavs, an opponent season high for a regulation game this season, the Thunder displayed a renewed defensive focus against a Dallas squad that took each of the previous two meetings to overtime. Against the Cavs, the Thunder yielded 39 points in the fourth quarter. Against the Mavs on Monday, the Thunder allowed just 44 in the first half.
The Mavs shot just 41.4 percent and never led by more than two points.
“I thought the guys were terrific tonight,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 24 points with seven assists. Serge Ibaka added 12 points. But the sight of Durant slashing to the rim was as significant as anything that took place on this night.
The four-time All-Star was in visible pain following the Cleveland game and needed to go to the hospital upon arrival in Oklahoma City late Saturday night.
He was cleared to play, assuring that his career games missed wouldn't jump past 14.
From the start Monday, Durant barreled to the basket multiple times, not only drawing contact with frequency but seemingly initiating and embracing it. On one late first-quarter possession, Durant drove down the right side of the floor and attempted to flush a highlight-reel dunk against two Mavs defenders. He was fouled hard by forward Elton Brand on the play but bounced right up, strolled to the free throw line and split a pair.