The Oklahoma City Thunder signalled their intentions for the second half of the NBA season on Thursday with a 104-89 pounding of Dallas.
As regular-season action resumed in the wake of the All-Star break, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka came up with big double-doubles to lead the Thunder, who are jockeying for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Westbrook scored 34 points with 10 assists and Ibaka tallied 21 points with a career-high 22 rebounds for Oklahoma City, who made a series of moves just before the NBA’s trade deadline on Thursday in hopes of boosting their playoff chances.
In a three-team deal, Oklahoma acquired guard D.J. Augustin, swingman Kyle Singler and a 2019 second-round pick from the Pistons, as well as big man Enes Kanter and sniper Steve Novak from the Jazz.
Guard Reggie Jackson went to Detroit and center Kendrick Perkins highlighted a package that was sent to Utah.
With the win, the Thunder moved into a tie with idle Phoenix for the eighth playoff spot in the West.
Anthony Morrow took advantage of extended minutes to score 16 points for the Thunder, who dominated despite a quiet night from Kevin Durant.
The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player connected on just four of 14 shots from the field and left the game in the fourth quarter after aggravating a foot injury.
Dallas opened the game a dismal 3-for-19 from the floor.
Oklahoma City led 25-19 after one quarter, but stretched the lead to 52-36 at halftime, thanks in part to Morrow’s 14 points in the second quarter.
Westbrook then scored 15 points in the third, including 10 of 10 free throws in the period, as the Thunder took an 18-point lead into the final frame.
The Mavericks, led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 14 points, trimmed the margin to 10, but couldn’t get it under double digits.
Dallas guard Rajon Rondo, who missed six games with a broken bone near his left eye, returned and scored five points in 29 minutes.
Forward Amare Stoudemire, signed by the Mavericks over the All-Star break after he was waived by the Knicks, practiced with the team on Thursday but didn’t play.
Coach Rick Carlisle said Stoudemire would also sit out Friday’s home game against Houston.
“We need this time to get him integrated, get him acclimated,” Carlisle said. “So we’re going to point toward Sunday.”
Carlisle said he wasn’t 100 percent certain Stoudemire would play when Dallas host Charlotte on Sunday but said: “That’s our goal.” – Agence France-Presse