When they add up the wins and losses after 82 games, there won’t be any room for explanations in the standings.

The Mavericks’ 109-86 victory over Oklahoma City on Sunday evening will count the same as all the other W’s. It won’t matter that Russell Westbrook and two other Thunder starters were in street clothes.

And the Mavericks won’t apologize one bit for it.
“They were down a great player, so we caught a break there,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “You still got to go out and play. They’ve had a great record with and without Westbrook. It was a good win for us.”
The Mavericks claimed an easy-looking road victory against the team with the second-best record in the Western Conference. It was the Thunder’s worst loss of the season. And the Mavericks inflicted it with none of their starters logging monster minutes, which should pay dividends Monday night when they host Boston in the second half of a back-to-back.

The win pushed the Mavericks’ record against teams ahead of them in the West to 6-11, nothing to brag about, but enough to give them the knowledge that they can compete against anybody when they play well.
“That’s what we have to do because those are the guys we’re still playing against,” said Vince Carter, who had 18 points off the bench, 13 in the second half when he was vital in keeping the Thunder at bay. “We’re going to see pretty much all the teams above us again.”

Given that Westbrook and fellow starters Thabo Sefalosha and Kendrick Perkins were missing, the Thunder looked like a random opponent. Even Kevin Durant’s 30 points couldn’t help OKC keep pace with the Mavericks, who got great production from Brandan Wright, Shawn Marion and Carter.

“This is a tough place to play,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who had a pedestrian evening with 17 points. “Obviously, with Westbrook getting the night off, that helped us. But it’s really only a good thing if you win the game. I’ve lost plenty of games before with people missing. It’s only an advantage if you take care of business, and I thought we did a good job.”

The Mavericks had lost seven in a row against the Thunder in Oklahoma City, including the 2012 playoffs, when they were swept.
They exacted some payback and finished off a three-game road trip 2-1.