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Dec 28, 10:37 PM EST

Nowitzki, Mavericks rally past Thunder, 112-107


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DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki matched his season high with 30 points, Chandler Parsons added 26 and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 Sunday night.

The Mavericks rallied from seven points down to start the fourth quarter. They were without center Tyson Chandler, a late scratch with back spasms that aren't supposed to sideline him long.

The Thunder played their sixth straight game without Kevin Durant because of a sprained right ankle. They fell short in their third chance to reach .500 for the first time after Durant and Russell Westbrook were sidelined by injuries for 14 of the first 16 games.

Nowitzki put the Mavericks ahead for good with a pair of free throws with 3:25 to go.

Serge Ibaka led Oklahoma City with a season-high 26 points.

Nowitzki made his first start at center in almost five years, according to STATS, and the resulting matchup issues made the 1,000th career game on the bench for Dallas coach Rick Carlisle a challenging one. It didn't help that the 7-foot German went to the bench with his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter.

The 6-foot-10 Ibaka was one of the bigger problems for Dallas. He did most of his early damage around the basket, then hit three 3-pointers in a 14-point third quarter, when the Thunder outscored the Mavericks 30-17.

But the Mavericks opened the fourth with an 11-2 run capped by consecutive baskets from Charlie Villanueva, the latter a 3-pointer from the left corner after Rajon Rondo found him with a cross-court bounce pass that traveled about 40 feet.

Monta Ellis scored 18 for Dallas before spraining his left ankle late in the game. Rondo had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Ibaka also led the Thunder with 10 rebounds, while Westbrook had 18 points but was just 6 of 23 from the field. Reggie Jackson scored 21, including a 3-pointer that got Oklahoma City within a point before Dallas pulled away in the final 3 minutes.

Carlisle brought Nowitzki back with 5:44 left, and he scored 10 points in the final 5 minutes.

The Mavericks often had the small-ball look that was a staple earlier in the 36-year-old Nowitzki's career, when he started at center a little more often. It looked good early, with Parsons scoring 15 in the first quarter as the Mavericks led by as many as 11 points.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Coach Scott Brooks said Durant had another good day at shootaround Sunday but was "not ready for the next step." The Thunder have two days off before their next game. ... Thunder players other than Westbrook made 39 of 67 shots (58 percent). ... Westbrook came close to a triple-double with nine rebounds and nine assists. He also had five steals.

Mavericks: Carlisle had 188 career games as a player with Boston and New Jersey. He's also coached at Indiana and Detroit. ... Nowitzki last started at center in consecutive games in March 2010, according to STATS. He filled in for Brendan Haywood then. ... PG Raymond Felton, the other major piece in the New York trade, made his Dallas debut on the same night Chandler missed his first game. Felton played 1:13 with no stats.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Home against Phoenix on Wednesday.

Mavericks: Home against Washington on Tuesday before starting stretch of 14 of 19 on the road.

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