Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder have responded well in games following a loss and look to continue that trend Monday versus the Dallas Mavericks in the opener of a three-game homestand at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder have alternated wins and losses in their previous eight games and suffered a 115-110 setback at Cleveland Saturday night despite receiving 32 points and 11 rebounds from Durant. Russell Westbrook added 28 points, and Serge Ibaka had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder.
"It's always concerning when we don't play defense they way we are capable of playing," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Is it going to be the end of the world? No, because we always come back to pride ourselves on what we do and stick with the basic fundamentals; that is guarding ball, helping off the ball and rebounding the ball."
Oklahoma City will try to get back to the basics Monday night and is 10-1 in games after a loss this season, going 15-3 in those scenarios a year ago. The Thunder, who recorded a 106-89 win over Memphis on Thursday, will try to push their home winning streak to five games versus the Mavs and are 20-3 in OKC this season.
The Thunder are 14-1 at home against teams from the Western Conference and will also entertain Golden State and Phoenix on the residency.
Dallas could be without the services of star forward Dirk Nowitzki for a third straight game as he is not expected to play Monday because of a strained right groin. Nowitzki, of course, missed the start of the season to recover from knee surgery and is averaging 14.8 ppg.
The Mavericks have been playing well as of late, winning seven of the last 11 games, including a 109-99 victory at Phoenix Friday night. O.J. Mayo led the charge with 20 points, Darren Collison recorded 19 and Shawn Marion tallied 14 points to go with 11 rebounds for Dallas, which is 1-2 on a four-game road swing.
"I thought we really enforced our will," said Mayo. "Raised our level of competitiveness and toughness, mentally and physically to go out there and get that win."
Dallas is just 8-18 on the road and recovered nicely following back-to-back losses at Portland and Golden State at the start of the trek.
The Mavericks have scored 100-plus points in 10 of the last 11 games and are ninth with 100.7 ppg this season. However, they are 28th in defense, allowing 102.9 ppg.
Oklahoma City leads the NBA in scoring with 105.8 ppg and plays decent defense (97.5 ppg).
The Thunder have beaten the Mavericks twice already this season and will close out the series March 17 in Big D. They have won four straight and eight of 11 matchups with Dallas, which has dropped three in a row and six of nine trips to the OKC.