DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 19 points, rookie Dennis Smith held his own against Russell Westbrook on the rookie Dallas guard's 20th birthday and the Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 97-81 on Saturday night.
A night after blowing a 15-point lead in the second half of a one-point loss to Detroit that followed a dominant win over Kevin Durant and Golden State, the Thunder fell behind for good in the first quarter of the best performance of the season from the suddenly surging Mavericks.
Smith finished with 15 points and four assists while Westbrook had 28 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists but just 12 points after a dominant quarter as the Mavericks won their third in the past four games following a 2-14 start.
Carmelo Anthony hit three of his four 3-pointers in the third quarter to help Oklahoma City close within 10, but got called for an offensive foul, his fourth, and then traveling the next time down. Yogi Ferrell's 3-pointer after the travel put Dallas up 70-53.
Anthony finished with 16 points, while Paul George scored just two points on 1-of-12 shooting but had a game-high 10 assists for the Thunder.
Nowitzki hit his season high on a 3-pointer that gave the Mavericks their biggest lead at 26, 83-57, early in the fourth quarter.
Harrison Barnes had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the first game since he banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer off an inbounds pass with 0.5 seconds left, giving the Mavericks a 95-94 win in Memphis.
The second Smith-Westbrook matchup of the season looked one-sided early when Westbrook coaxed two quick fouls out of Smith on his way to a 16-point first quarter, one shy of Westbrook's high for a quarter this season.
But Smith got going with a seven-point second quarter and hit a confident 3 in the third quarter to help the Mavericks keep control.
Thunder: Held to 13 points in the second quarter, the Thunder's fewest in any quarter this season. The previous low was 14 in the second quarter of a 96-87 loss to Utah on Oct. 21. Oklahoma City shot 26 percent in the quarter. ... Grant's two free throws with 50 seconds left in the third quarter were the first points by someone other than Westbrook or Anthony since a bucket by Steven Adams with 5:20 left in the second.
Mavericks: Nowitzki had a strange three-point play in the second quarter. Jerami Grant was given a technical for grabbing the rim when Nowitzki hit a layup. There was contact, and the Mavericks thought Nowitzki was fouled and would get three free throws. But he only got one, and made it. ... The Mavericks weathered a 5-minute scoreless drought in the fourth quarter, with Ferrell hitting a 3 to get the lead back to 18.
Thunder: At Orlando on Wednesday, with the first of two three-day breaks this season. That's their longest outside the All-Star break.
Mavericks: At San Antonio on Monday, the second of four in a season series that will be finished nine days before Christmas.
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