May 5, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts at the end of the game against Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) during game four of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks (12-16) vs. OKC Thunder (21-6) Preview

Tonight, the Thunder will look to bounce back from a tough loss to the Miami Heat on Christmas Day and get a win against a decent Dallas Mavericks team on their home court. The Thunder have lost two straight, and don’t want to fall behind the Clippers in the standing with a loss.

The Mavericks are not so hot themselves, losing three straight despite the return of star forward Dirk Nowitzki. Leading the Mavs this year has been O.J Mayo averaging 19.3 points per game and making himself a liable candidate for most improved player.

This will be the first time the two teams meet since the Thunder swept the Mavs in the first round of the playoffs last year.

The two teams started a minor rivalry when the Mavs beat the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals two years ago, and then went on to beat the Heat in the Finals.

Oklahoma City could use a nice bounce back win on National TV against a decent Dallas opponent. The Mavs may not be .500 at a 12-16 record, but they do have some talent across the board.

Can the Thunder use their home crowd and get back on track with a win tonight against the Mavs?

Find out on TNT at 8 PM EST.

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Tags: Dallas Mavericks Oklahoma City Thunder

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