NBA

Thunder tired of being pushed around as Mavs visit

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City knew January was going to be its most difficult month of the season. With 15 of 18 games on the road, the Thunder were going to get challenged.

Early on, it looked like they were going to fail the challenge miserably -- they lost their first three games of the month and six out of 10.

It seemingly took a loss to Golden State to set the Thunder straight. In that game, MVP candidate Russell Westbrook was knocked to the ground by Zaza Pachulia, who then stood over him. However, none of the Thunder players on the court came to Westbrook's defense.

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This didn't sit well with Anthony Morrow, who held a locker room meeting right after the game to address the issue.

"That is something that between us we had to talk about," Morrow said. "I addressed it right as soon as we got in the locker room. I don't see that happening again. If I'm on the court, or if some other guys are on the court, I don't see that happening again. You have to let people know they are not going to be able to do that."

Since that postgame meeting, the Thunder have won two straight, including a 114-105 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.

Westbrook has reached triple-double numbers in both games to push his season total to 23. It also gave him 60 for his career to break a tie with Larry Bird and put him in fifth place all-time.

The consecutive Thunder wins also coincide with the return of Steven Adams, who had missed a pair of games with a concussion.

The Thunder ended their six-game trip with a 3-3 record.

"It is what it is," Adams said. "We just have to be ready for the next game and hopefully do better -- keep getting better and hopefully get the results that we want."

The Thunder (27-19) return to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday to take on the Dallas Mavericks. Both teams will be playing the second of consecutive games.

The Mavericks beat the Knicks 103-95 in Dallas on Wednesday.

Dallas (16-29) has been fighting the injury bug of late. Not only have the Mavericks been without guard J.J. Barea (calf) and center Andrew Bogut (hamstring), but Wesley Matthews had to leave their win over the Lakers on Monday with a hip strain.

After missing six games, Bogut was back in the lineup Wednesday when the Mavericks hosted the New York Knicks. He scored two points and grabbed four rebounds points in 21 minutes.

Matthews was in uniform but did not play.

Thursday will be the first matchup between the teams since Oklahoma City knocked the Mavericks out of last year's postseason. But both teams are different than the ones that battled for five games in the first round.