|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)00:0019:00 ET5:00 PM CT22:00 , March 16, 2014
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Attendance: 18,203
Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder
- The Thunder have won the last seven games in this series, including a 107-93 home victory on November 6.
- Dallas has shot 50 percent or better in six of its last eight road games against Western Conference opponents. The Mavericks made 53.2 percent in Wednesday's road victory against Utah, including 61.9 (13/21) percent of their three-point attempts.
- Oklahoma City has scored 104 or more points in nine straight games, averaging 116.0 points per game during this streak. But the Thunder are just 5-4 in these contests.
- Entering this weekend, Monta Ellis (381) and Jose Calderon (313) were one of just two sets of teammates to each have at least 300 assists this season. Portland's Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum were the only other duo to accomplish this.
- Russell Westbrook has scored at least 20 points in each of his last four games against the Mavericks, averaging 28.0 points on 50.6 percent shooting during this streak, although he is 0-for-9 from three-point range.
- Kevin Durant is averaging 33.7 points per game since the All-Star break, which is on pace to be the highest post-All-Star scoring average for any qualifying player since Dwyane Wade (33.9) in 2008-09. Durant had 29 points in Thursday's win over the Lakers, extending his streak of 25+ point games to 30 in a row.
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By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- There's a strong possibility that Oklahoma City and Dallas could meet in the first round of the playoffs.
That likely would be just fine with the Thunder.
Oklahoma City seeks its 12th consecutive win in the series when it hosts the Mavericks on Sunday night.
The Thunder (48-17) have split their last 10 games to fall one behind San Antonio, which has won nine straight, for home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. They've followed back-to-back road losses by winning two straight at home, including Thursday's 131-102 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kevin Durant scored 29 points despite being in foul trouble, and Russell Westbrook also finished with 29 to go along with nine assists as Oklahoma City won its fifth straight home contest.
"It's real fun, especially when we win," said Westbrook, averaging 27.3 points over his last four. "As long as we continue to do a good job of playing together and everybody gets in a good groove, I think we'll be all right."
That's certainly been the case against the Mavericks recently. Oklahoma City never trailed in the second half of a 107-93 home win over Dallas on Nov. 6 in the teams' lone matchup this season. That extended the Thunder's series winning streak to 11, which includes a first-round sweep in the 2012 playoffs.
Serge Ibaka had 17 points and 13 assists in the most recent meeting, and he finished with 15 points and 13 boards Thursday for his third straight double-double. He's averaged 14.6 rebounds in that span and has 11 blocked shots over the last two.
"Serge has really been good. He's having a good year," coach Scott Brooks told the team's official website. "This is a stretch where we're seeing more growth. He's chasing down shots, altering and blocking them. He's getting rebounds, spotting up and driving. He's really picked up his game. He's very efficient."
Following this contest, Dallas begins a crucial eight-game homestand that includes a rematch with the Thunder on March 25. The Mavericks (39-27), who have won three of four, are in a tight battle with Memphis and Phoenix for one of the final two playoff spots in the West.
Dirk Nowitzki moved into 12th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list after netting 31 points in Wednesday's 108-101 win over Utah. He hit 12 of 14 from the field and all four of his 3-point attempts after shooting 7 for 25 overall and totaling 26 points over his previous two.
"I was determined to set a more aggressive tone," Nowitzki said. "I haven't been quite on fire lately, but I got out early and was really looking to get my groove."
A three-day break since that win gave Dallas a chance to heal up.
Forward Jae Crowder has missed the last two games with a strained abdominal muscle but said he hopes to play against the Thunder. Guard Devin Harris has been battling a strained Achilles, though he scored 12 points Wednesday despite being a game-time decision.
"Whatever the schedule is, we have to maximize it. (The break) for us I'm going to say comes at a good time," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've got a couple of guys that are nursing some minor aches and pains, and we want to get those things resolved. And they're good work days, so it's work and prep, because we've got a bunch of games coming up starting on Sunday."
Nowitzki has been held to 11.7 points per game on 11-of-34 shooting in his last three visits to Oklahoma City, where the Mavs have lost seven straight - including the playoffs.
Durant has averaged 33.0 points in five meetings since the start of last season, and the Thunder have scored at least 107 in each.
Updated March 15, 2014