By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma City cruised to a 112-91 blowout win over Dallas on Monday night, the ninth straight over its I-35 rivals, including playoffs. Here’s some rapid reaction:
The Thunder cruised through an unimpeded lane in the first half, dropping in layup after layup with little resistance. And with each easy two-point bucket, the Mavs motivation rapidly plummeted. It was 68-44 OKC at halftime. It was over far before that.
Star of the game – Not Dirk Nowitzki
The Dallas star has been brutal against OKC this year. He’s 11/41 shooting in the three losses, averaging only 12.3 points and helping little on the glass. Nowitzki’s never been known as a hustle player, but his effort has been noticeably lackluster when facing the Thunder. He rarely broke out of a light jog during Monday’s beatdown. His line: 3/11 shooting, 10 points, 3 rebounds and a plus/minus of -24.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, KD has been lights out against Dallas. While the Mavs star labors through rough shooting nights, KD fills up the opposing scoreboard. He wasn’t even that spectacular on Monday (and didn’t need to be): 19 points and 10 rebounds on 6/11 shooting. But because of his 52- and 40-point showings earlier in the year, he’s now put up 111 in three games. That’s 37 per game. Dirk has 37 total in those three games.
Stats of note
-The Thunder is now 15-1 at home against Western Conference teams this season.
-The Mavs are 8-19 on the road this season.
-Kevin Durant is 36/37 at the line against Dallas this season. His only miss came tonight.
-Russell Westbrook (8/16 tonight) has shot 50% or better for three consecutive games. That’s the longest streak of the season. OKC is 12-2 in games he hits or eclipses the 50% mark.
Kevin Durant got his ninth technical on Monday (and probably his most questionable one). It puts him in a five-way tie for second in the NBA with Kobe, Carmelo, Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes. A pretty distinct behavioral group, but it’ll be tough to catch the leader. DeMarcus Cousins entered the night with a league-leading 10, but he felt heat for the crown. So Sacramento’s outspoken superstar went and got ejected in the first half at Utah. Two T’s tonight, 12 on the season. Your move, KD.
If the ‘KD is not nice’ jokes weren’t so overplayed, I’d make one here
San Antonio, 38-11 on the season and winners of 10 straight, was idle tonight. So the Thunder (36-12) moved to 1.5 games back for the NBA’s best record.
Two more home games on this quick homestand. The Warriors come to OKC on Wednesday and Phoenix visits Friday. Both games at 7 p.m.