Thunder Top Mavs In Preseason Finale

Wednesday, October 24th 2012, 11:17 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma City Thunder wrapped up preseason play Wednesday night with a 88-76 win over the Dallas Mavericks at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas.

Kevin Durant led the way with 18 points for the Thunder, while James Harden had 16 off the bench and Serge Ibaka chipped in 15 points and seven rebounds.

Jae Crowder led the Mavericks with 21 points.

Durant has shown a new emphasis on play-making during the preseason, consistently having more assists than turnovers, a big change from his performances the past few season. In fact, Durant has never finished a season with more assists than turnovers, but finishes the preseason with 21 assists to just seven turnovers.

The game was nothing close to the matchups the two teams have had in the playoffs in the past two seasons. The Mavs have a completely different roster, and Dirk Nowitzi is sidelined for about six weeks with an injury. Vince Carter and Shawn Marion also didn't play for the Mavs.

The Thunder trailed early, but took an 11-10 lead on two Kevin Durant free throws with five minutes remaining in the first quarter and didn't trail the rest of the night, leading 23-16 at the end of the first quarter and 53-40 at halftime.

Several Thunder players didn't play, including Lazar Hayward, Reggie Jackson and Daequan Cook.

The next big task for head coach Scott Brooks and the Thunder front office is determining which player will get the 15th roster spot. Based on preseason play and potential upside, it would appear the decision will come down to center Daniel Orton or guard DeAndre Liggins, neither of whom played Wednesday night. The decision will be made next week.

Regular season action begins next week for the Thunder. OKC will begin the season on the road next Thursday, Nov.1 at San Antonio before returning home to take on Portland the following night in the home opener.