OKLAHOMA CITY -- There were so many chippy conversations taking place Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena it was difficult to keep count.
When it wasn't Oklahoma City's Steven Adams receiving a technical foul for elbowing Vince Carter, it was Carter retaliating with a vicious elbow to Adams' head and getting ejected after receiving a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2. In the end, the Thunder flexed their muscles enough to pound out a 107-93 triumph over the Mavs.
Afterwards, Carter apologized for his actions, which could draw a fine or and/or suspension from the NBA.
"More than anything I just want to apologize to the fans on both sides because there was no need for it,'' Carter said of his incident. "They're already trying to clean up the game of basketball and making it fun for fans to watch.
"It was just one of those things you're caught in the moment in a big game -- whatever whatever -- and you kind of react to a reaction that was done to you. I just wanted to first say that, because my intentions have never been that way, but it was just one of those things.''
Counting the playoffs, this was the 11th straight time the Thunder have beaten the Mavs. But the previous games had never gotten this nasty between the Red River rivals.
"You saw it,'' said forward Jae Crowder, who came off the bench to pour in 17 points for the Mavs. "I don't know what type of guys they think we are, but they thought we were going to lay down and the guys felt that and we just tried to stand up to them, and that's where it went tonight.
"I'm not surprised that it went that route because those guys talk a lot of smack and they can get under your skin with it.''
Russell Westbrook (22 points) apparently got under Crowder's skin with 1:32 left in the game because they both received technicals for exchanging some unpleasantries.
"The play before that when (coach) Rick (Carlisle) called a timeout, (Westbrook) threw the ball at me,'' Crowder said. "That's when Dirk (Nowitzki) was talking to the refs and saying it was a delay of game, but he said it couldn't be a delay of game because we called timeout.
"But he threw the ball at me, he hit me, and I didn't like that at all. It's disrespectful.''
After winning at home Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Mavs got off to a great start against the Thunder, trailing by only 33-31 after the first quarter. OKC still led, 57-51, at the half, but started to pull away in the third period when it built its lead to as much as 17 points
Carlisle said: 'I don't have a play-by-play for you, but the combination of untimely turnovers that turned into points and other problems'' is what led to the Thunder distancing themselves from the Mavs.
"They are a good team, and to win this game in this atmosphere you really have got to be right and really have to be functioning well on all levels and it just wasn't there for us tonight,'' Carlisle said. "Yeah, 23 points (the Thunder scored) off of turnovers on the road is going to be really hard to overcome.
"Then we got beat on the boards (44-36) and we just didn't play well enough. It's a disappointing night -- we have got to get ready for the next one.''
The Mavs are now 3-2 on the season, including 0-2 on the road, with this three-game road trip continues Friday night in Minnesota.
But after re-hashing the events Wednesday, Nowitzki noticed that the Thunder were able to overcome their own 24 turnovers because of a huge weapon in their arsenal.
"The problem is they're so fast and athletic that if you do turn it over it's one or two dribbles, a couple of long steps and a dunk,'' Nowitzki said. "It's extra costly against them because they make you pay so fast without you even having a chance to get back -- it's already a dunk.''
That scenario occurred way too many times Wednesday against the Mavs, who shot just 42.4 percent from the field and missed 14-of-23 three-pointers a day after converting 13-of-27 from downtown against the Lakers.
Still, the Mavs had their chances. They simply failed to produce enough offense -- or defense -- when the game was still there to be taken.
The Mavs also didn't keep their emotions in-check in a game that was a bit physical.
"For a Game 5 it was pretty chippy out there,'' said Nowitzki, who finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three steals. "But it's pretty close cities, we've been going bad for a couple of years and had good battles up here always, so it got chippy a little bit.
"The refs didn't really have it under control. They let a lot of stuff go, and that's what happens.''
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 23 points, while the Mavs got 20 points, five assists and seven turnovers from Monta Ellis.
"We have got to quit turning it over,'' Carlisle said. "Our execution has got to get better.
"Our screening was poor tonight. Reboudning is going to be a big stat for us every night.''
-- Dwain Price
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