Nenad Krstic scored a season-high 23 points, rookie Russell Westbrook added 17 as part of his first career triple double, and the undermanned Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 96-87 Monday night despite playing without their two leading scorers.
Kevin Durant (sprained ankle) and Jeff Green (back spasms) were both out, but the Thunder got Krstic's biggest scoring outing since December 2006. Westbrook had the franchise's first triple-double since an offseason move from Seattle with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas' charge back from a 23-point deficit, and his 3-pointer from the right wing got the Mavericks back within 88-84 with 4:13 to play.
Those were the last of his 28 points, and Dallas didn't score again for 4 minutes.
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Kyle Weaver, who answered Nowitzki's final 3-pointer and then added a runner to help Oklahoma City stop the comeback, finished with a career-high 18 points and Thabo Sefolosha added 15 points.
Jason Terry scored 20 points for Dallas in his second game back after surgery on an injured finger. The Mavericks played the second half without Josh Howard, their third-leading scorer, after a troublesome left ankle flared up again. He missed 11 games earlier this season because of the injured ankle.
The Thunder's makeshift lineup put together an 18-3 run early in the second half and went up 68-49 when Krstic put back Westbrook's missed 3-pointer with 5:43 left in the period. A technical foul against Dallas coach Rick Carlisle allowed Oklahoma City to push the lead to 20 for the first time, and the Thunder led by as much as 79-56 when Damien Wilkins hit a 3-pointer in the last minute of the third quarter.
Terry finished the period with a 3-pointer, and that started Dallas' comeback.
Nowitzki, who had two of his four 40-point games this season against the Thunder, scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to make it close. He missed a 3-pointer that would have again closed the deficit to four after Weaver's 3-pointer, and then committed two fouls in frustration in the final 3 minutes.
Westbrook had the assist on Krstic's two-handed jam that put the game away at 95-84 with 44.9 seconds left. Westbrook then grabbed an airballed 3-pointer by Terry for his 10th rebound to become the 14th player in franchise history with a triple-double.
Earl Watson was the last player to get one, on Feb. 6, 2008, at Sacramento, with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Notes:@ Westbrook was voted the Western Conference Rookie of the Month after averaging 20.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 12 games in February. He also won the honor in December ... Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett watched from courtside seats along the baseline instead of a luxury suite. ... Malik Rose played for the first time since being acquired in a deal at the trade deadline, and had seven points and five rebounds in his first playing time with Oklahoma City. ... Mavs F James Singleton was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim after an alley-oop dunk near the end of the first quarter.