Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/1/12

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Dallas Mavericks are in a two-game hole at the start of their title defense.

Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, and Kevin Durant added 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 102-99 win over the reigning champions Monday. The Thunder took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 31 points for Dallas, which got 15 points and eight rebounds from Shawn Marion.

The next two games will be in Dallas, Thursday and Saturday.

With the Thunder seeking to take control of the series, and the Mavericks looking to atone for a fourth-quarter collapse in Game 1, bad blood brewed and tempers flared early as both teams continued the emotional battle.

The end result was Nowitzki and Perkins being called for a double technical foul after exchanging shoves with 5:04 remaining in the first quarter. The brief fracas started after Nowitzki took exception to a shot to the head by Serge Ibaka following a jump shot 23 seconds earlier. When the Thunder gained possession, Perkins threw an elbow that went uncalled while attempting to back down Nowitzki. After passing out, Perkins and Nowitzki then got tangled up while going for a rebound, and that's when the physicality escalated and emotions boiled over.

Once play finally resumed, the Thunder took control. Oklahoma City ended the first quarter on a 9-0 run before using the start of the second quarter to increase the surge to 19-3 and turn a 24-23 deficit into a 42-26 advantage.

The Thunder went on to lead by as many as 16 in the first half before Dallas answered with a 12-2 spurt to pull within six. At halftime, the Thunder led 57-50, with Dallas getting back in it behind 14 second-quarter points by Nowitzki.

NOTES: Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said before the game that backup point guard Rodrigue Beaubois could see more minutes as the series continues. Beaubois didn't play in Game 1 but made his first appearance with 5:48 remaining in the second quarter of Game 2. "He's ready to play. It's possible. If the situation presents itself, he'll be in there," Carlisle said. "It's one of the first times we've had all our guards healthy in a while."

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