Mavericks-Thunder Preview

The slumping Dallas Mavericks haven't been anywhere near their best of late, and they may have to get by without Monta Ellis again.

Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder have managed to take care of business despite a slew of injuries.

Dallas tries to avoid a winless three-game road trip as both teams look to inch closer to locking up playoff spots Wednesday night.

The Mavericks (45-29) have dropped four of five after falling 104-99 at Indiana on Sunday in their first game since losing Ellis to a calf injury. Ellis, averaging a team-high 19.1 points, had played in all 237 regular-season games since the start of 2012-13 before sitting out.

Dallas was limited to 38 points in the second half after taking a 61-55 lead into the break.

"I thought we were fine there for a while, but usually (Ellis) is our closer," teammate Dirk Nowitzki told the Mavs' official website. "He's got the ball in his hands at the end a lot, and we definitely missed that. It's his attacking and his mid-range game off the pick-and-rolls, and we definitely would have loved to have him down the stretch."

Chandler Parsons had 27 points and 10 rebounds while Rajon Rondo scored 17 to go with 10 assists and seven boards.

"I liked the way we played in a lot of ways," coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's pretty much what I expected with the roster that we have without (Ellis), but we're going to have to go by feel and we're going to have to adjust on the fly some. That's just the way it's going to be."

Oklahoma City (42-32) has had to adjust to life without Kevin Durant, who has been limited to 27 games and will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. Serge Ibaka (knee) also remains out, but Westbrook has kept the Thunder in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Oklahoma City is 2 1/2 games ahead of New Orleans for the eighth and final postseason spot and three behind the seventh-place Mavs with two weeks left in the regular season. The Thunder return home after closing a 1-2 trek with Sunday's come-from-behind 109-97 victory over Phoenix, their fifth win in seven games.

Westbrook finished with 33 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as Oklahoma City stormed back from 20 down in the second quarter. He was on the bench for a key fourth-quarter stretch fueled by reserves D.J. Augustin and Anthony Morrow, who combined to score 30.

"Then Russell came back in and finished the game off," coach Scott Brooks said. "We have to find ways to win together. We've been doing that for a long time. Tonight was a classic example of what we have to do."

Westbrook has overtaken James Harden for the NBA scoring lead with 27.6 points per game. He's also averaging 10.2 assists since the beginning of February for the league's second-best mark.

The Thunder have won six straight home games and 20 of 22. They had won 11 in a row overall - including playoffs - over the Mavs before losing four of the last five, with the lone victory coming 104-89 at home Feb. 19 behind 34 points and 10 assists from Westbrook. He averaged 21.0 points on 32.5 percent shooting in the Thunder's two losses in the season series.

Nowitzki averaged 26.0 points in those two games but scored 14 in the loss at Oklahoma City.

Dallas has been limited to an average of 88.4 points in dropping seven of eight on the road.

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