Kevin Durant extended his impressive scoring streak with another 25-point haul as the Oklahoma City Thunder won for the seventh time in a row, a 99-86 triumph over the revamped Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.
Fresh from participating in his first All-Star game, Durant racked up 25 points for a 26th straight game, the longest such run since Allen Iverson completed the feat for 27 successive games in the 2000-2001 season.
The third-year forward topped the scorers despite shooting a mediocre nine-for-28 from the field, but also contributed a game-high 14 rebounds.
“My teammates did a great job of picking me up when my shots weren’t falling,” Durant told reporters. “The important thing is we got the win.”
The Thunder spoiled the debut of the new Dallas acquisitions after the Mavericks traded for high-scoring forward Caron Butler, center Brendan Haywood and reserve DeShawn Stevenson during the All-Star weekend.
The reinforcements, however, could not prevent the Mavericks (32-21) suffering a sixth loss in their last eight games.
Butler made just four-of-16 shots and had 13 points, while Dirk Nowitzki paced Dallas with 24. As a team, the Mavericks shot a season-low 32 percent and were never in contention once they fell behind in the second half.
“We didn’t make shots,” Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd said. “I think we started pressing. It just didn’t work out.”
Oklahoma City surged ahead in the third quarter by scoring 14 straight points to pull ahead 73-59, a lead that swelled to 17 early in the fourth.
Point guard Russell Westbrook recorded 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds to go with 17 each from forward Jeff Green and reserve James Harden.
The Thunder started slowly and were 10 points adrift after the first quarter, but erupted for 40 points in the second to take a 56-54 halftime advantage.
After under-achieving for several years, the youthful squad is in the thick of the Western Conference playoff mix, while extending their longest winning streak since 2004, when the franchise was located in Seattle.
Meanwhile, Mavericks center Erick Dampier exited the game with less than three minutes left because of a dislocated finger that could force him out for several games.
His absence will put extra pressure on new big man Haywood, who had seven points and six rebounds in his first outing with Dallas.
■HEAT 105, SIXERS 78
Dwyane Wade scored 24 points to lift Miami to victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday that spoiled Allen Iverson’s return for the 76ers.
Jermaine O’Neal added 20 points for the Heat, who won their third straight. Udonis Haslem scored 13 points and Michael Beasley chipped in with 12.
“These are the wins everybody loves. Everybody’s happy,” Wade said. “It was a good game for us. It started yesterday in practice where we really focused on what we needed to do.”
In the teams’ first game since the All-Star break, Philadelphia welcomed back Iverson. He had missed five games as well as Sunday’s All-Star game to help care for his ill daughter, Messiah.
Iverson came off the bench and shot one-of-seven from the field to score four points.
Thaddeus Young led the 76ers with 16 points, while Andre Iguodala added 11.
“A classic, classic butt-kicking,” coach Eddie Jordan said. “No doubt about it. Mostly, I wanted our guys to keep competing and keep encouraging each other during the times we were down. It was hard to do that.”