DIRK NOWITZKI scrambled to replace Tyson Chandler with the Dallas center sidelined by back spasms, then he found himself with five fouls early in the fourth quarter.
When the big German returned to the game, he carried the Mavericks to a come-from-behind win.
Nowitzki matched his season high with 30 points, including 10 in the final 5 minutes, Chandler Parsons added 26 and the Mavericks beat visiting Oklahoma City, 112-107, last night.
"We had to adjust a little bit, I'd say, without Tyson, our warrior, our paint protector," said Nowitzki, who put Dallas ahead for good with two free throws with 3:25 to play and made all 12 of his shots from the line. "Not really used to playing in foul trouble, because I never really foul. So I tried to move my feet and be long out there."
The Thunder played their sixth straight game without Kevin Durant because of a sprained right ankle. They fell short in their third chance to reach .500 for the first time after Durant and Russell Westbrook were sidelined by injuries for 14 of the first 16 games.
Serge Ibaka led Oklahoma City with a season-high 26 points, but was limited to just one shot and two points in the fourth quarter. Westbrook scored 18 but was 6-for-23 from the field. He missed a triple-double with nine rebounds and nine assists. He also had five steals.
"He didn't shoot the ball well," coach Scott Brooks said. "But he competed. He put us in position to have a chance to win this game. He gave everything he had."
Nowitzki made his first start at center in almost 5 years, according to STATS, and the resulting matchup issues made the 1,000th career game on the bench for Dallas coach Rick Carlisle a challenging one.
In other games
* At Cleveland, Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, and the Detroit Pistons used an 18-0 run in the second quarter to roll past the Cavaliers, 103-80. It was Cleveland's second blowout loss at home in less than 2 weeks.
* At San Antonio, Danny Green had 24 points and the injury-depleted Spurs held off a late rally to beat the Houston Rockets, 110-106, snapping a six-game skid against their intrastate rivals. Tim Duncan had 16 points and Manu Ginobili had 15 for San Antonio, which won for first time in three games.
* At Portland, Wesley Matthews had 28 points, including six three-pointers, and the Trail Blazers beat the short-handed New York Knicks, 101-79. It was the eighth straight loss for the Knicks, who had just nine available players to start the game, and then lost Carmelo Anthony for the second half because of a sore left knee.
* At Denver, Lou Williams scored 31 points and Kyle Lowry added 30 to go with 11 assists as the Toronto Raptors squashed the Nuggets, 116-102.
The Raptors won at Pepsi Center for the first time since the 2003-04 season. They have won seven of eight overall.
* At Los Angeles, Goran Dragic scored 24 and Eric Bledsoe added 22 and the Phoenix Suns took down the Lakers, 116-107. Kobe Bryant scored 10 points in his return to the lineup after taking three games off to rest.