Thunder suddenly lose two in a row

27 December 2012 13:46:04 EST

The Oklahoma City Thunder host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, one of only two games on the NBA slate.

The comfortable leaders in the Northwest Division, the Thunder had been flying high before being surprised by the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis and then losing to the Miami Heat on Christmas Day in a rematch of last year's final. More importantly for the Thunder, the loss to the Heat seemed to confirm that Miami has their number and the swop of sixth man extraordinaire James Harden for Kevin Martin has not improved Oklahoma City's chance of winning the NBA title.

Dallas comes into the Chesapeake Arena as quite probably the happiest side on a three-game slide in the league. That's because Dirk Nowitzki finally returned from injury after missing the start of the season and the Mavericks remain just two and a half games out of the eighth and final playoff place in the Western Conference entering play on Thursday. Certainly at 12-16 there is work to do for Dallas who trail the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets in the Southwest Division, but a Dallas side with Nowitzki and O.J. Mayo immediately becomes one to avoid.

In the Pacific Division the Golden State Warriors continued their fine month with a 94-83 victory over the Utah Jazz at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City. Now 10-4 in December, the Warriors return home to the Oracle Arena in Oakland on Friday and Saturday as the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics come into town.

The Thunder are 10/11 to win with a points spread of -10, while the Mavericks are 10/11 to win with a points spread of +10.

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