OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook picked up right where he left off at the All-Star Game.
In his first outing since being voted All-Star Game MVP, Westbrook had 34 points and 10 assists to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Dallas Mavericks 104-89 on Thursday night.
“Just trying to find my spots, just trying to find a way to be aggressive at all times, in attack mode.” he said. “Keep putting pressure on the defense. That’s my job.”
Serge Ibaka had 21 points and a career-high 22 rebounds and reserve guard Anthony Morrow added 16 points for the Thunder, who won for the sixth time in seven games. They moved into a tie with Phoenix for eighth place in the Western Conference.
“We can’t look at the standings after every win, after every loss,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant said. “We’ve just got to keep playing. We’ve got 28 games left. We’ve just got to focus on those. Just continue to trust in the process and everything will be all right.”
The Thunder rolled despite getting just 12 points from Durant in 37 minutes. He continues to have pain in the right foot he injured earlier in the season.
“It’s tough, but I’ll figure it out,” he said. “I’ve just got to get through it, just keep getting treatment. Talk to the trainers tomorrow and see what we can do to make it better. We’ll see.”
Dirk Nowitzki had 14 points and Tyson Chandler added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Mavericks, who shot a season-low 36.3 percent from the field. Dallas point guard Rajon Rondo returned after missing six games with broken bones in his face. He finished with five points and six assists in 30 minutes.
Oklahoma City outrebounded Dallas 62-39.
“I feel like for us, we’ve got to walk away with games feeling good about them, win or loss, and I don’t feel good about this loss,” Chandler said.
The Thunder remained focused after a whirlwind day of trades. They sent talented backup point guard Reggie Jackson to Detroit and acquired Utah center Enes Kanter, among other moves.
Morrow’s long 2-pointer from the left corner as time expired in the first half gave the Thunder a 52-36 lead. He scored 14 points in the first half and made 6 of 11 shots.
Oklahoma City held Dallas to 29 percent shooting before the break and forced 13 turnovers. Dallas barely avoided its lowest-scoring half of the season.
Westbrook had 26 points and nine assists by the end of the third quarter to help the Thunder take an 83-65 lead.
Dallas closed the gap to 10 on a 3-pointer by Al Farouq-Aminu early in the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks never got closer.
“We started arguing a little bit too much with ourselves instead of just playing and competing,” Nowitzki said. “Coming out of the break, sometimes, it’s tough. I just felt like we were just sloppy.”
Mavericks: Newly acquired F Amare Stoudemire did not play. The team said he likely won’t play until Sunday. … Chandler returned after missing the last game before the break with a left ankle injury. … Dallas matched a season-low for a second quarter with 17 points.
Thunder: The team was short at the center position. Steven Adams did not play because of an injured right hand, and Kendrick Perkins was traded earlier in the day. Nick Collison started and finished with two points and nine rebounds. … Andre Roberson matched a career high with 12 rebounds.
Dallas cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 10 with 3:23 left in the fourth quarter, but Westbrook found Collison for a layup, then Westbrook drove for back-to-back layups to push the lead back up to 16.
“Westbrook was great there in the fourth,” Nowitzki said. “Getting to the rim a couple times and getting layups — that really sealed the deal.”
Westbrook went 14 for 14 from the line. It was the sixth time this season he has made at least 12 free throws in a game without a miss. … Oklahoma City committed 25 turnovers.
Mavericks: Host Houston on Friday.
Thunder: At Charlotte on Saturday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .
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