OKLAHOMA CITY -- Typically on the last game of a long road trip, one team just pokes along slowly because it doesn't have anything left in the tank.
The Dallas Mavericks didn't have that luxury Monday night.
Playing the fourth and final game of an eight-day road trip, the Mavs had plenty gas in their tank before they ran onto the Chesapeake Energy Arena court, but they were run over by the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-91.
"We don't have any excuses," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "At this point that would be lame to blame it on that [long road trip]. We got two days of rest and we were in Phoenix for a couple of days, where supposedly that air makes you feel better. That's what I hear, anyway."
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The Oklahoma air wasn't too kind to the Mavs, who went 1-3 on the road trip and are lagging behind in the Western Conference with a 20-28 record.
The Thunder outscored the Mavs 39-22 in the second quarter en route to galloping to a 68-44 lead at the half.
It was never a game thereafter as the Thunder held a comfortable 85-56 cushion following a jumper by Serge Ibaka with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter.
"What I did see was a lot of untimely turnovers that led to big problems," Carlisle said. "And when you put these guys in the open floor with turnovers, they're going to make you look bad."
The first two times the Mavs played the Thunder this season, they lost both games in competitive fashion in overtime, and Kevin Durant totaled 92 points. On Monday, Durant scored a pedestrian 19 points, including 15 in the first half.
But the Thunder, who received 24 points from Russell Westbrook and 17 from Kevin Martin, didn't need another breakout game from Durant in order to corral the Mavs.
The Mavs played without Vince Carter (ill) and Chris Kaman (concussion). Carter said he'll play Wednesday at home against Portland, while Kaman is out indefinitely.
"When we substituted we struggled," Carlisle said. "Not having Vince out there is a big factor. We've got to play better, too."
Dallas had 10 of its 14 turnovers in the first half.
"They were moving the ball all over and they came off a bad loss probably to a team they thought should have beaten," center Brandan Wright said of the Thunder, who were coming off a 115-100 loss to Cleveland. "So we knew they were going to come out with a lot of intensity."
Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki returned after missing the previous two games with a strained right adductor.
But Nowitzki was just 3 of 11 from the field and finished with only 10 points, three rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.
"His shooting numbers weren't good," Carlisle said. "I thought he moved well. We just came up against a big-time opponent and we made too many mistakes. And when that happens nobody looks good."
Nowitzki agreed with Carlisle in that the second unit, without Carter and Kaman, was not as efficient as they normally would be.
"I didn't think we had enough playmakers out there and we had some stupid turnovers that always get us in trouble," Nowitzki said. "One time we couldn't even get the ball inbounds.
"Sometimes they swarm us and that always gets us in trouble. When we turn the ball over we're usually not very good. We can't go back and set our defense up ... for us that is a recipe for disaster."
Shawn Marion led the Mavs with a season-high 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting. But Marion isn't worried so much about any personal accomplishments as he is about what needs to be done to get the Mavs back on track.
"Turnovers and we couldn't get any stops, man," Marion said. "I think one of our best advantages is to be able to get stops and get out on the break and make something happen.
"And when you can't get stops and get out on the break, or you're turning it over on the break and they're able to score, it's that much harder. So you're making it that much harder on yourself."
Besides Marion and Nowitzki, the Mavs received 15 points from Dominique Jones and 10 points from rookie Jae Crowder.
The Mavs have lost five of their past eight games, and also have dropped nine games this season by 20 or more points.
The good news for the Mavs is that they go home to play five games bridging the All-Star Game, and won't have to leave Dallas until Feb. 21, the day before they play the Hornets in New Orleans.
"This is one of them games where we just didn't have it tonight," Wright said. "But we've got to close this break out the right way."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760