Having played all but two games without 2007 NBA Most Valuable Player Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs now own a 12-17 record, but they led the majority of Thursday's game against a team battling for the league's best record in the 22-6 Thunder.
Asked why the Mavs were so competitive, Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin said: “We just match up well. The NBA's all about matchups. Their point guard (Darren Collison) came out on fire the whole night. I felt like he was playing with a chip on his shoulder. They just played well.”
Perhaps Collison chip came from playing against Westbrook, his former UCLA teammate.
Collison finished with 32 points, shot 13 for 22 from the field and went 4 for 4 from 3-point range, which included a game-tying heave off one foot at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.
“They've got talented players,” Nick Collison said. “It wasn't our best game tonight. We're going to look at the film and see we could be a lot better. They've got good player, they've got veteran players and they know how to play.”
*Right-handed Mavs shooting guard Vince Carter was 1 for 6 from the field and 1 for 3 from 3-point range in the first half. At halftime, he swished three straight 3s — left-handed.
*In front of the Dallas bench, Martin and Mavs owner Mark Cuban had a brief and animated conversation during intermission.
Coincidentally, Martin becomes a free agent on July 1. Martin smiled and said his conversation involved Cuban “still thinking he can beat me” in a shooting challenge from a few years back.
On Christmas Day, the Miami Heat made 19 of 19 free throws. On Thursday, the Mavericks made their first 13 attempts from the line before Mayo missed two straight after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with 33.2 seconds left in overtime. … The Thunder has struggled on Thursday night this season, going 2-2 on TNT so far this season. … Durant received his NBA Player of the Month award in a pre-game ceremony. … Former OU football coach Barry Switzer was in attendance. … The Mavs outscored the Thunder 20-17 in fast-break points. The teams tied 42-42 in points in the paint and 15-15 in second-chance points.
Carlisle on the firing of Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson: “He's a special guy. He'll enjoy the peaceful time off, and then he'll be back when he wants to be back. He's a high-level coach.”
BY JOHN ROHDE