Knee on ice, but Durant ready to go
The Oklahoma City Thunder's leading scorer and the NBA's co-leader at 29.7 points a game, will be just fine, Thunder coach Scott Brooks. That's just fine with the Mavericks, who have the most sucess outside of Orlando keeping Durant's scoring in check and contesting him closely to force him to put up a lot of shots to get his points.
Durant, locked in a scoring battle with LeBron James, has averaged 22.3 points on 29.7 percent shooting against the Mavs in three games this season. He went for 25 points in the Thunder's Feb. 16 win over the Mavs, but needed 28 shots.
Oklahoma City forward Jeff Green thinks he knows why the Mavs have had good success against Durant.
"It's just great team defense by them. When they want to stop one guy, it's easy to stop him when they put all five guys on him. That's what they've been doing, trying to make every shot for him tough," Green said. "But, Kevin finds ways to score his points, he gets to the free throw line, he attacks the rim, so it's a tough guard. But, when you want to make a guy work for his points, that's how you do it by getting all five guys to be up on him."
That team approach typically starts with Mavs forward Shawn Marion. While Dallas has fared well defensively this season against the league's top scorers, the 6-foot-10 Durant, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said, presents unique problems.
"We try to stay as close as we can to him and contest everything. He's difficult because he's long and fast," Carlisle said. "I've never seen a guy of his height and length run off screens as fast as he does. It's remarkable. It's a challenge for whoever guards him. But, it's not one guy. Everybody's got to react to his movements.''
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