OKLAHOMA CITY —
He said the absence of reserve Vince Carter, who was out sick and missed his first game all season, was a factor, but "we've got to play better, too."
"When you put these guys on the open floor with catastrophic turnovers, they're going to make you look bad. I think that was it more than anything," Carlisle said.
Kevin Martin chipped in 17 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which rested its starters in the fourth quarter and got some playing time for seldom-used reserves Perry Jones III and Daniel Orton. The Thunder have alternated wins and losses for their past nine games, and have lost two in a row only once this season.
"A good team usually responds to losses like that. I remember we used to be like that," said Nowitzki, who's not used to being on a team struggling to contend for a playoff spot.
"We responded well," Durant said. "The toughest test is to see how we do the next game. It's easy to do it. ... We've got to see if we can sustain it and keep going the next game."
The Thunder charged ahead to stay after Darren Collison headed to the Mavericks' bench with his second foul, picked up while reaching in against Durant on a made jumper with 4:10 left in the first quarter. Martin had a two-handed, alley-oop dunk and a 3-pointer during a string of nine straight Oklahoma City points, and Hasheem Thabeet's short jumper to start the second quarter made it 31-22 Thunder.
Even when Collison — who had a season-high 32 points and hit a tying 3-pointer at the fourth-quarter buzzer in the teams' first meeting this season — returned, the Mavs could never stop Oklahoma City's momentum.