Posted December 26, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Failing to measure up in their much-anticipated NBA Finals rematch, the Oklahoma City Thunder have gone back to the drawing board.
The Dallas Mavericks are also looking to refocus now that their star forward has returned to the lineup.
The Thunder will try to stop their first losing streak of the season and win their 11th straight at home on Thursday night when they take on the Mavericks.
After winning 12 consecutive games - the franchise's longest streak since 1995-96 - Oklahoma City (21-6) dropped consecutive road contests against Minnesota on Dec. 20 and Miami on Tuesday.
The Thunder suffered their first defeat in five games following a loss and haven't lost three in a row since April 2-6.
While Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to score 54 points - more than any set of teammates had against the Heat - both missed potential game-tying 3-pointers in Miami.
"Unfortunately we didn't come away with the win but we did a lot of good things that we can take away to the next game," coach Scott Brooks told the team's official website.
The Thunder fell to 11-3 when both stars score 20 or more points, but they could certainly use some help. Durant and Westbrook have scored 117 points in the team's last two losses, while the rest of the team has totaled just 73.
After averaging 108.6 points while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor during its 12-game run, Oklahoma City has slowed to 95.0 and 41.2 percent, respectively, the past two contests.
The Thunder should have a decent chance to get back on track against a Dallas team that ranks near the bottom of the NBA in scoring defense (103.8 per game) in December.
The return of former MVP Dirk Nowitzki wasn't enough to prevent the Mavericks (12-16) from losing for the sixth time in seven games, as they fell 129-91 at San Antonio on Sunday.
Dallas trailed by as many as 46 before losing its ninth game by 15 points or more.
"We got a (butt-kicking), that's it,'' forward Shawn Marion said. "No need to explain it ... it was an old-fashioned (butt-kicking).''
The blowout loss spoiled the long-awaited return of Nowitzki, the team's leading scorer every season since 1999-00. He scored eight points in 20 minutes off the bench after missing the first 27 games following knee surgery in October.
"We need to keep on working,'' Nowitzki said. "We've got a lot of areas to improve. We might not be as talented as some teams on the top, but if we're not, you have to make it up with how you play and compete and it's just not there.''
While it's likely to take Nowitzki some time to get back into form, the Mavericks could use his prolific scoring with O.J. Mayo battling illness and a minor slump.
Mayo, who missed the team's workouts earlier in the week because of a fever, is expected to play after returning to practice on Wednesday.
The team scoring leader (19.3) will try to bounce back after averaging 8.3 points on 9 of 33 from the field in his last three games.
Dallas has totaled just 89.3 points on 41.5 percent shooting during its three-game skid, but might be catching the Thunder at the right time. Oklahoma City has given up 101.0 points on 45.7 percent in its back-to-back losses.
The Thunder have won six straight against the Mavericks, including a sweep in the first round of the 2011-12 playoffs.
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On Christmas day, Kevin Durant was featured in a Sprint commercial spot entitled, “Pajamas.” In the spot, a man wakes up in his own pj’s but in Kevin Durant’s body to the surprise of his son and the ummmm “excitement” of his wife who has plans for her hubby’s new physique. Take a look. [...]
BASELINE TO BASELINE
The Oklahoma City Thunder faced off Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks, and midway during the third quarter Kevin Durant exhibited – as if we needed refreshing – shy he’s an insane athlete and a top player in the game. In the video below, Durant followed a block with a coast-to-coast slam over Chris Kaman. [...]The post Kevin Durant’s Block, Coast-To-Coast Slam ...
OKLAHOMA CITY For most of Thursday's game, the Thunder looked like they were on a losing streak and it looked like Russell Westbrook was somewhere between uninterested and lost.
Westbrook was dreadful 2-of-9 in the first half, 4-of-14 after three quarters and other than Kevin Durant, the team wasn't much better. They trailed the below-average Mavericks by as much as 11...
There are few players in the NBA more talented than Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and earlier tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, he showed his skills on both end of the courts.Watch as KD swats a shot from Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois and puts Dallas center Chris Kaman on a poster with a nasty one-handed dunk:
ON A WING AND A PRAYER
Darren Collison was lighting it up all night long against the Thunder tonight dropping 32 points. When it's your night shots like this start to fall. Check out his off balance buzzer beater at the end of regulation to take the game into over time. It was a broken play in which Shawn Marion ended up with the ball inside the 3 point arc, but quickly realized they needed a...
Darren Collison of the Mavericks sent their game on Thursday night into overtime on an incredible shot at the buzzer. The Mavs had the ball with only 2.2 seconds on the clock and managed to somehow have an inbound pass almost intercepted AND another dish. You decide for yourself if the score-keeper did his job correct or not. One way or another, it was an amazing shot.
On Thursday, the Dallas Mavericks almost literally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.Down by three points with just 2.2 seconds to go, Dallas needed this miraculous shot by Darren Collison just to force overtime. Collison somehow managed to sink the prayer despite the Mavs completely botching the inbound pass. It is a mystery how he was able to stay behind the arc while launching...
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Mavs - Thunder was an absolute highlight fest last night. The last: OKC's Kevin Durant blocks Darren Collison's layup attempt (he's more comfortable with circus threes) -- then goes coast-to-coast...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
Darren Collison couldn’t believe it himself, in a last second desperation attempt to save a broken play, the Mavs point guard hoisted a three pointer off one foot and miraculously sent his team to OT with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the TNT broadcast: