for this game

Westbrook steps up for Thunder in win over Mavs

Mar 3, 2009 - 6:27 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Without two young stars, Russell Westbrook showed that the Oklahoma City Thunder have a third in the making.

Westbrook recorded his first career triple-double to lead the Thunder to a 96-87 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

Westbrook had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Thunder, who played without leading scorer Kevin Durant as well as Jeff Green.

"That was a team win, guys that haven't played much came in and performed," Oklahoma City interim coach Scott Brooks said. "I know guys haven't got as many opportunities to play as they would have liked. We have 14 guys, and it is going to take every guy on our roster to help us win. We are a much better team with Kevin and Jeff, but I like the fact that everyone got involved tonight. There were some odd lineups at times, but they stepped in and played well and fed off each other defensively."

Nenad Krstic scored 26 points and Kyle Weaver added 18 for Oklahoma City, which has won two straight, both without Durant.

"Obviously without Jeff and Kevin, we knew we needed to come out with great energy, we did that, it felt good," Krstic said. "We almost beat them in Dallas a few nights ago, so we knew it was possible, but everyone played great when we really needed them."

Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points and Jason Terry added 20 for Dallas, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

"I just thought that the first three quarters were a pitiful display for a team that has hopes for the playoffs," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've seen this before too many times. We screw around for two or three quarters, and expect Jason Kidd to bail us out with steals, hustle plays, fast break opportunities, it's just too much to ask. I give Oklahoma City a ton of credit. For three quarters they dominated us with their sense of urgency, and how hard they played without their two best players. It reflects very poorly on us."

Despite being shorthanded, the Thunder led by as many as 23 before the Mavs fought back. Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer to make it 88-84 with 4:13 to go, but then the comeback stalled.

That was the last time Nowitzki scored and the Mavs went on a four-minute scoring drought as the Thunder refused to fold.

"Whoever they threw out there was playing very well, they kept coming at us," Nowitzki said. "We were careless on the glass in the first half, we were slow to every loose ball, and they deserved to win tonight.

"It's been a problem all season long. I don't think we are good enough to just turn it on when we want. Maybe we were good enough in the year we won 70 games, but we aren't good enough anymore to just turn it on. The deficit was just too big, you cannot put yourself in that big of a hole and expect to win."

Weaver answered Nowitzki with a three of his own and he extended the lead to 93-84 with another basket en route to a career-high night.

Terry had a solid outing in his second game back after surgery on an injured finger, but the Mavericks did get some bad news on the injury front as Josh Howard missed the second half with a sore left ankle.

Dallas' third-leading scorer, Howard missed 11 games earlier this season because of the injured ankle.

Westbrook got his 10th assist on a dunk by Krstic with 44 seconds remaining. Krstic was fouled on the play and made the free throw to make it 96-84 and essentially ice the game.

The only drama left was whether Westbrook would get his 10th rebound and he did on Dallas' next possession when he hauled in an airballed 3-pointer by Terry to become the 14th player in franchise history with a triple-double and the first since the offseason move from Seattle.

"It feels good, especially with a win, but I think if I keep coming out and stay aggressive I can get a few more nights like this," Westbrook said. "But if everyone doesn't hit big shots like they did tonight, we don't win and I don't get a triple-double."