DALLAS — For the second time in nine days, the Dallas Mavericks sent the Oklahoma City Thunder a message just in case the teams meet in the first round of the playoffs.
Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki had 32 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals in a turn-back-the-clock performance that turned away Kevin Durant and the Thunder, 128-119 in overtime Tuesday at the American Airlines Center.
Nowitzki, mired in a shooting slump in recent games, scored seven points in overtime, including the dagger 3-pointer with 57.2 seconds left that put Dallas ahead 123-115. He finished 11-for-23 from the floor and 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
Durant finished with 43 points on 15-for-27 shooting, and he added five rebounds and six assists while logging more than 50 minutes. It was the forward’s 13th game of 40 points or more this season, but Durant was relatively quiet after the third quarter, scoring six points late in OT when the game was virtually out of reach.
The Mavericks (43-29) remain in the No. 8 position in the Western Conference, percentage points behind the Memphis Grizzlies and a half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns.
The Thunder (52-19) trails the San Antonio Spurs by 2 1/2 games for the NBA’s best record.
Dallas avoided a third overtime loss on its franchise-record, eight-game homestand, improving to 3-2 with the Los Angeles Clippers in town on Thursday night.
Both teams had chances to win it in regulation. Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook missed a potential game-winning jumper, and Dallas called timeout with 1.8 seconds left. Mavericks guard Vince Carter inbounded to Nowitzki about 30 feet from the bucket. With Westbrook draped all over him, Nowitzki got off a shot and watched it roll out as the sellout crowd collectively gasped.
Mavericks guard Jose Calderon forced overtime with a 3-pointer, his fifth of the game, to counter Durant’s fifth 3-pointer that gave Oklahoma City a 111-108 lead with 39.9 seconds left.
Calderon had 16 of his 22 points in the first half. His sixth 3-pointer early in overtime put the Mavericks ahead 116-111. Guard Monta Ellis added 17 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, which started with Dallas trailing 89-84. Carter added 16 points off the bench.
The Thunder got 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists from Westbrook, who was restricted to 33 minutes due to a sore right knee. Forward Serge Ibaka was in foul trouble throughout and finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes. Guard Derek Fisher led three Oklahoma City bench players in double figures with 13 points. He hit three 3-pointers.
NOTES: Thunder G Russell Westbrook returned to action Tuesday for the first time since leaving Friday night’s game at Toronto after bumping his right knee. An MRI exam on Saturday revealed no issues. He sat out Monday’s home game against the Denver Nuggets. Westbrook remains on a minutes-restriction and will sit out one game in back-to-back situations. … Mavericks G Jose Calderon returned to the starting lineup after he was knocked out of Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets by an inadvertent elbow to the mouth in the opening minute. … The Mavericks beat the Thunder in their last meeting nine days ago in OKC. It was Dallas’ first win over OKC in 12 games, including the 2012 playoffs. … Mavericks F Shawn Marion made one steal. He needs five more to pass Magic Johnson (1,724) for 17th on the NBA career list. … Oklahoma City injured starters G Thabo Sefolosha (left calf strain) and center Kendrick Perkins (left groin strain) have not begun to practice with the team. Return dates are still not certain for either player.
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