OKLAHOMA CITY, (Reuters) – The streaking Dallas Mavericks overcame an injury to nine-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-93 on Monday and maintain their impressive record on the road.
Nowitzki scored 13 points before leaving the game for good early in the second quarter with a sore right knee.
The high-scoring forward came down awkwardly after he was fouled on a jump shot and then headed for the locker room, although his injury is not believed to be serious.
“It was scary when he went down but when we saw him at halftime, he was smiling and asked what the score was,” Dallas guard Jason Terry told reporters. “He told us: ‘Ah you got em’, so that gave us confidence.”
Forward Caron Butler picked up some of the slack with a team-high 21 points and Terry scored seven straight points in the fourth quarter to give the Mavericks (24-5) a 90-84 lead en route to their fifth successive win.
Terry boosted the team off the bench with 13 points and eight assists, as did Shawn Marion who recorded 20 points and nine rebounds.
Kevin Durant, the league’s leading scorer who poured in 44 points in a win over Denver on Christmas Day, finished with 28 but the Thunder (21-11) were outscored 24-12 in the final quarter to let the game slip away.
Oklahoma City fell behind by 12 early on but tied the game by halftime and stayed close to the Mavericks until going cold in the fourth when they missed their first eight field goal attempts.
James Harden scored 18 points off the bench while Russell Westbrook had 15 while making just five of 15 shots for the Thunder.
Dallas, which has the second best record in the NBA behind the San Antonio Spurs, came into the game without head coach Rick Carlisle who has a knee injury.
However the Mavericks stayed red-hot on the road where they have now won eight in a row for a league-best record of 11-1 this season.
“This was a great team win, a huge team effort,” said Mavericks coach Dwane Casey who filled in for Carlisle. “(Marion) had a heck of a third quarter and Jason Kidd just willed us to win.”