Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Durant hasn't figured out Mavericks
By Jeff Caplan
Long and lanky Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant is a rising superstar, no doubt about it. In his third season as a pro since leaving Texas after one season, Durant is averaging career highs with 28.5 points (third in NBA), 7.3 rebounds and 39.7 minutes.
So tonight's Mavericks game against the young and improving Thunder in OKC should be interesting. The 6-foot-9 Durant has struggled to score against the Mavs in his first two seasons. Josh Howard, at 6-7 and with a long wing span, has given Durant fits. Now the Mavs can also throw rubbery, 6-7 forward Shawn Marion at him.
(Side note: It will be interesting to see if coach Rick Carlisle inserts Howard back into the starting lineup for this game or if he sticks with hard-playing J.J. Barea at shooting guard.)
Durant averaged 14.0 points a game against the Mavs in each of the last two seasons. In two games last season, Durant got off just 21 shots. He's averaging 20.1 shots a game this season. In six total games against Dallas, Durant is 30-of-80 (37.5 percent).
(Second side note: It's getting hard to remember that the Thunder and Mavs are not division rivals. It's too bad really. With the proximity of the the cities and the Thunder's bright future, these two teams could really end up hating one another.)