Thunder-Mavericks Preview

Russell Westbrook's unselfishness has keyed the Oklahoma City Thunder's six-game win streak. Now he might need to show some in a different way for the run to continue.

Not letting his emotions get the better of him could be important for Westbrook just to stay on the floor as he faces well-known irritant J.J. Barea for the second time in 10 days. And there's a chance all the major players – maybe not Dirk Nowitzki – will be needed for extended minutes Friday night when the Thunder visit the Dallas Mavericks.

That's because a down-to-the-wire game or even overtime seems like a real possibility. Of the last six meetings in Dallas, five were decided by six points or fewer and the other went to OT.

That's a period Mavericks fans are used to.

If this one goes past regulation, Dallas (25-19) would set an NBA record with a fifth consecutive overtime game at home. The Mavericks are the only team to play four straight, having also done so in 1985.

Dallas lost 108-89 in Oklahoma City on Jan. 13, but that's not a good barometer for the rematch. The Mavs' entire starting five was rested following an overtime loss the previous night, and this game is in Dallas where the Thunder (32-12) have lost three straight.

Westbrook got into two skirmishes with Barea and was ejected after the second one. Dallas' Charlie Villanueva was tossed as he defended Barea after the first, earning two of the game's six technical fouls. Both incidents stemmed from Barea's physicality as he guarded Westbrook, who refused to talk about the dustups.

The All-Star played 15 minutes but had eight assists, his only game of the last seven not reaching double figures. Westbrook went scoreless and hasn't lit up the scoreboard lately anyway, with no more than 16 points in four of five games.

''With the weapons we have, the best way for us to play and the best way for myself to play is to find those guys, get those guys shots, and I can score when I need to,'' Westbrook said.

With his assists up during the six-game streak, his field-goal attempts have dropped to 13.3 per game after he previously averaged 19.2. The Thunder are 12-1 when he has fewer than 18.

Westbrook shot 5 of 14 but had 15 assists, eight rebounds and five steals in Wednesday's 109-95 victory over Charlotte.

''He's playing a video game,” said Kevin Durant, who had 26 points. “Trying to get all the assists early and trying to get everybody involved early, and it's helping us out.”

Durant has reached 20 points in 29 straight games, including 29 last week against the Mavericks. The former University of Texas star has averaged 42.0 in his last three in Dallas.

Durant missed both visits last season and a 117-114 win over the Mavericks on Nov. 22 as Westbrook had 31 points and 11 assists.

Nowitzki was rested for last week's matchup but missed a game Wednesday for the first time due to injury. Swelling in his right knee kept him out of a 106-94 overtime victory over Minnesota, and it's unclear if he'll return Friday.

“The good thing is I really didn't have any pain,'' said Nowitzki, who had surgery on the same knee in 2012. '' … When you're old, there's always something coming up and this came up out of nowhere.''

Chandler Parsons stepped up to score 16 of his season-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Dallas, which overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth, is 11-1 in OT games over the past two seasons.

''It's a composed, experienced, veteran team,'' Parsons said. ''We never get too high or too low in a game, and we never have a doubt.”