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Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Thunder healthy just in time for Mavs visit

By Jeff Caplan

OKLAHOMA CITY -- It wasn't long ago that the Dallas Mavericks owned the Oklahoma City Thunder as they did during the franchise's final years in their previous incarnation as the Seattle SuperSonics.

As everyone knows, the crew of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green has drastically altered things north of the Red River. And while these two teams are not in the same division -- something the league must remedy -- the matchup is a simmering rivalry.

At least, Jason Terry said, according to some of the Thunder. The clubs meet for the first of just three meetings this season at 7 tonight in Oklahoma City. They'll play all three games between now and Jan. 6.

"Oh yeah, we’re ready. This is something we’ve been waiting for," Terry said. "They’ve been talking a lot, a couple of their players, about how it’s a rivalry now, us and them, and we really look forward to this game. I know I do personally."

After a bit of a slow start, the Thunder (10-4) have won five in a row and seven of eight, including a couple with Durant and Green sidelined with injuries. Durant and Green returned in Monday's 117-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Just in time for us everybody’s healthy," Dirk Nowitzki said. "It’s going to be a big challenge. They play really well at home, their crowd is one of the best in the league and obviously Kevin is one of the best players in this league."