Dirk Nowitzki to sit out sixth straight game

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki won't play tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It will be the sixth consecutive game the Dallas Mavericks' leading scorer will miss since he sprained his right knee Dec. 27 in Oklahoma City.

"He's getting gradually better, but he's not ready to play yet," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after the morning shootaround.

Nowitzki spent the shootaround riding the stationary bike and was the first player to head to the locker room, having worked up a good sweat.

The Mavs are 2-3 without their starting power forward, having won two in a row against Cleveland and Portland. The Thunder present a much more difficult challenge with NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant and Co., seeking revenge for two home losses to Dallas. Nowitzki left the last game early in the second quarter, but the Mavs still managed to win with a lock-down fourth quarter on Durant.

Shawn Marion is expected to continue to start at power forward with DeShawn Stevenson starting at small forward and Jason Terry at shooting guard.