DALLAS -- While there's no such thing as a perfect team, the Oklahoma City Thunder are as close to perfection as the NBA has to offer.
The Thunder own the NBA's best record at 31-8 and have been slithering through opponents like a hot knife through butter. In fact, they just look downright untouchable.
"In the last five games they’re winning by an average of (11.6) points, which is unheard of in this league,'' Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "So they’ve been dominant.''
The Mavs (17-23) will get their opportunity to see how dominant when they host the Thunder tonight at 8:30 at American Airlines Center.
Led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder is out to finish what they failed to finish last year when they lost to the Miami Heat in five games in the NBA Finals. Besides the Heat's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, there's probably not another potent one-two punch in the league more efficient than Durant and Westbrook.
"Westbrook and Durant are great players,'' Carlisle said. "A lot of what they do obviously is centered on them, and they have great role players and guys that compliment them.
"Containing them and keeping them out of the paint is always a priority. Having said that, they both shoot it good from the outside, so it’s never going to be a bargain either way.''
The Mavs played the Thunder close to the vest back on Dec. 27, losing 111-105 in overtime. Dallas led that game 91-82 with 6:21 left, only to falter down the stretch in a bevy of turnovers and mental mistakes.
"More than anything the last game our turnover total was what killed us,'' Carlisle said. "We just had way too many.
"It was unfortunately because we had played really great in a lot of other areas of the
In that loss to the Thunder in December, the Mavs had 13 turnovers which led to 23 points for Oklahoma City. So, the plan for tonight is simple.
"We've got to be more efficient,'' Carlisle said. "Our game is going to have to be persistent, tough and together.
"We know how good they are.''
-- Dwain Price
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