(AP) – Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. made the plays down the stretch in a point guard matchup otherwise dominated by Thunder star Russell Westbrook.
Smith scored 11 of his 19 points in the final 1:39 and Dallas closed 2017 with its season-best fourth straight win, beating Oklahoma City 116-113 on Sunday night.
Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 24 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 13 for Dallas, which had lost four straight in Oklahoma City and seven of nine overall against the Thunder.
“He was great tonight,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said of Smith. “He finished the game with a couple of big baskets, some big free throws. Look, it was an up-and-down night, there was a lot going on. … He went through some situations that were very difficult but he kept his energy up, he kept his head up, he kept attacking and he kept encouraging everybody in the huddles during timeouts, too.”
Dallas won despite Westbrook recording his 12th triple-double of the season with 38 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. The Thunder had been 11-3 in December before consecutive home losses to Milwaukee and Dallas to end the month.
Paul George scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony had 21 for Oklahoma City, combining to go 8 of 14 from 3-point range. Despite their hot shooting, Westbrook took the big shots late for OKC and missed a trio of 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds. He was 0 for 4 from deep for the game and was mostly curt with reporters afterward.
“We just didn’t get the stops we needed to,” he said.