OKLAHOMA CITY – Forget, for a moment, that game-winning shot Kevin Durant hit to beat the Dallas Mavericks, 99-98, this past Saturday in this best-of-seven series opener.
If the Mavs don’t do anything about containing Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook, this could be a short playoff series. Westbrook scored a game-high 28 points on 13-of-23 shooting and just had his way maneuvering around the Mavs’ defense.
While the Mavs take solace in the fact that they kept Westbrook out of the painted area for most of the night, the fact remains that he was clearly the best player on the court for 48 minutes in Game 1. And that includes his defense on Jason Terry, who had a red-hot hand, but got off only one shot in the fourth quarter when he was guarded by Westbrook.
“I like the fact that we kept Westbrook out of the paint a lot of the night,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “If he’s going to keep making jumpers it’s going to be tough.
“We’ve got to do something to take him out of his rhythm a little bit more, because he’s in a groove and he’s been in a groove for the last two or three weeks of the season as well.’’
-- Dwain Price
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