By Mark Lane (@therealmarklane)
DALLAS — Mavericks shooting guard Seth Curry scored a team-high 22 points to lead Dallas over the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-89 Sunday at the American Airlines Center.
Oklahoma City pulled within seven points early in the third quarter as Dallas led 60-53. However, the Mavericks exploed on a 16-2 run. The run culminated with three straight 3-point shots to create a 76-55 lead midway through the penultimate period.
Curry went 10-of-16 from the field tonight with a 2-of-5 mark from the 3-point line in 30 minutes of playing time. Sunday marked the fifth time in six games after the All-Star break Curry has scored 20-plus points. Dallas incidentally has a 7-3 mark when Curry scores 20 or more points.
Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook led the league with 31.7 points per game entering Sunday’s contest. His 29 points scored in 34 minutes played broke his streak of four straight games with 40 or more points.
Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki played 30 minutes and scored 18 points, grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds, and dished three assists, recording his fifth double-double of the season. This is the third time in the past four games Nowitzki has grabbed 10 or more rebounds.
The 2007 NBA MVP also improved his career points total to 29,980. Nowitzki needs just 20 points to become the sixth player in league history to reach the 30,000 mark. Nowitzki would trail Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Malone (36,928), Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419). However, Nowitzki would also become just the third player in NBA history to score 30,000 points with one franchise, joining Karl Malone (Jazz) and Kobe Bryant (Lakers).
Nerlens Noel, the big man for whom Dallas traded with Philadelphia in February, scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds in 16 minutes of play from the bench. This is the second straight game Noel has scored double digits.
Dallas improves to 26-36 on the season, just two games out from the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Portland Trail Blazers sit in the ninth spot with a 26-35 mark and the Denver Nuggets claim the eight seed with a 28-34 record. The Mavericks host the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night.