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Monday, April 30, 2012
Shawn Marion: Shot a 'lucky bounce'

By Jeff Caplan
ESPNDallas.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Dallas Mavericks defensive stopper Shawn Marion is eager to tip Game 2 Monday night because he's tired of talking about Kevin Durant's dramatic game-winning shot in the series opener that Marion described as a "tough-ass shot, lucky bounce."

Overlooked, Marion said, is the overall defensive job he did on the league's three-time scoring champ, helping to limit the Oklahoma City star to 10-of-27 shooting, while also scoring 17 points and grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.

Marion Y'all just remember that one shot. How many easy buckets did he get last game? Fast-break dunks? How many shots did he shoot with a contested hand in his face that he hit? That's what you got to factor in.

-- Shawn Marion on guarding
Kevin Durant

"Personally, he couldn't even see the basket on his last shot," Marion said following the Mavs' morning shootaround. "If you go 10 for 30, what the hell? Y'all just remember that one shot. How many easy buckets did he get last game? Fast-break dunks? How many shots did he shoot with a contested hand in his face that he hit? That's what you got to factor in. OK, yeah, he hit a game-winning shot. OK, I mean that was a tough-ass shot, lucky bounce.

"If he missed that then what, what are y'all saying, he needs to stop shooting, pass the ball? Everybody's all saying these positive things. At the end of the day they got a win. Hey, it's Game 2 tonight."

Durant struggled from the floor for most of Game 1, going 1 of 6 from beyond the arc. He was 2 of 7 in the fourth quarter before draining the hotly contested, 15-foot, off-balance pull-up jumper over Marion. The shot caromed up and back off the left side of the rim, softly kissed the backboard and fell in with 1.4 seconds on the clock to give the Thunder a 99-98 lead.

Durant didn't attempt to dispute any of Marion's claims such as not seeing the rim before lofting the game-winner, or that he was tightly covered by Marion or that he was the beneficiary of what some might deem a lucky bounce.

"I took a glance at it (the rim) when I was dribbling," Durant said. "I've taken so many shots since I've been playing this game you kind of know where you are on the floor and I've been working on that pull-up for a while. It's a difficult shot over two guys, but Shawn Marion did a great job contesting and I got that bounce. You always hear about the shooter's bounce so I'm glad it went in for us."

Marion and the Mavs are understandably irritable about the game-winner because they blew a seven point lead with 2:32 to play, and it's the second one Durant has hit against them this season. He made a 27-foot 3-pointer off an inbounds pass in the final seconds to beat Dallas on Dec. 29, and the Mavs dropped two other regular-season games that OKC pulled out in crunch time, an area Dallas dominated in beating the Thunder in five games in last season's Western Conference finals.

"That's what he does, he gets up shots," Marion said. "So, I'll make it as hard as possible when I'm on him to make him take tough ones and take away as many easy buckets as I can."

Marion, hailed for his defense on Kobe Bryant, Durant and LeBron James during the Mavs' championship run a year ago, is a defensive player of the year candidate for his versatility and success in guarding four positions, often in one game.

While he might see a possession or two defending explosive Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, the vast majority of Marion's time will be going one-on-one with Durant, a player that is several inches taller and 10 years younger.

"It is what it is, it's Game 2 tonight," Marion said. "What more can we elaborate on? Right now we got to come up here and go to war again tonight. That's what it's about. I'm a warrior, I'm a competitor. I play both ends of the floor and. Let's go, let's go."