Russell Westbrook to rest Sunday
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will rest Sunday against the Mavericks, a precautionary measure announced by coach Scott Brooks to keep the star from playing in some back-to-back games.
Brooks said Westbrook would start Monday's road game against the Chicago Bulls.
The Thunder have enjoyed plenty of success without Westbrook this season. They are 22-8 when the three-time All-Star sits out, including a 20-7 run while Westbrook recovered from knee surgery from Dec. 27 through the All-Star break.
"They survived his absence for a long time," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said, downplaying the effect the lineup change would have on Dallas' game plan. "It's not like it's any bargain for [Kevin] Durant to touch the ball 20 more times."
The Thunder have an 11-game winning streak over the Mavs, including the 2012 first-round playoff series sweep.
Westbrook has been on a minutes restriction since his return in February from knee surgery. The Thunder, who haven't played Westbrook more than 31 minutes in the past 10 games, will play six sets of back-to-back games in the final month of the NBA season.
Brooks said Westbrook definitely would sit for some of them.
"There's going to be some back-to-backs he's not going to play," Brooks told reporters, according to the Daily Oklahoman. "We definitely have a plan in place."
Brooks added that Westbrook's "conditioning is great."
"We just want to get some time, while we still can, where he can rest in between games," the coach said.
Westbrook is averaging 21.5 points per game this season.
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon was used in this report.