As the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks traded blows in the final minutes of their NBA clash in Oklahoma City on Monday (NZ time), Steven Adams could only sit and watch.

The Kiwi big man found himself off the floor for the best part of the final four minutes of the match, with coach Billy Donovan opting to field defensive-minded forward Jerami Grant to try to seal a close win.

However, a 13-point fourth quarter from Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr proved to be the difference as he led his side to a 116-113 win - handing the Thunder their second straight loss.

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Adams, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, took a back seat in the match to Russell Westbrook, who needed less than three quarters of the game to post his 12th triple-double of the season with 38 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists.

Points were free-flowing from both sides in the opening 12 minutes, as the Mavericks held a 35-32 lead after the first quarter.

The Thunder stayed hot in the second to take a six-point lead into half time. The back and forth trend of the game didn't change after the break as Dallas fought back to within a point with 12 minutes to play.

For the most part, the teams remained within one possession of each other, however the lead switched hands a number of times.

Westbrook was working the midrange game superbly in the final quarter, making Dallas pay for hanging off him on his way to a 38-point outing on 17-28 shooting.

With the time winding down, a momentum-building play where Adams somehow tipped a wayward shot in looked as though it might have spurred the Thunder on to a win.

However, Smith Jr took it on himself to silence the home fans and lead Oklahoma City with a win, htting clutch free throws and two huge three-point shots which proved enough to down he Thunder.

With the loss, the Thunder drop to a 20-16 record for the seaosn, but they remain fifth in the Western Conference.