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Thunder Vs. Mavericks: Oklahoma City Opens Preseason Against Defending Champs

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder will tip off their 2011-12 preseason schedule against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks Sunday.

The long awaited NBA season returns Sunday night with Kevin Durant picking up right where they left off against the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. The Thunder will play the first of their two preseason games against the Mavericks on Sunday.

Oklahoma City hasn't made many changes to the team during the offseason. Perennial MVP candidate Kevin Durant returns and will be looking for a way to break through in the western conference. Russell Westbrook along with Durant will once again form one of the best duos in the NBA. James Hardin is expected to provide punch off the bench while the Thunder will also have a full season from Kendrick Perkins

Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks took home the Championship in 2011 but will look slightly different as they open the defense of their title. Gone from last season's championship team are Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea and in their place are veterans Vince Carter, Lamar Odom and Delonte West

Date, Time: Sunday, December 18, 6:30 p.m. CT

Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

For more on the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder, be sure to check out Mavs Moneyball and Welcome To Loud City