DALLAS -- Last week when the Dallas Mavericks went to Oklahoma City and handed the Thunder their worst loss of the season, they didn't have to deal with point guard Russell Westbrook.
But that'll all change tonight.
When the Mavs (42-29) entertain Oklahoma City (52-18) tonight at 7 at American Airlines Center, Westbrook will be in the starting lineup for the Thunder. And no doubt he'll be ready to torment the Mavs.
"He's a great player, he's another athletic attacker, and so it raises the level of their game a lot,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "We know that and we've got to be ready.
"There will be a lot of one-on-one defense and getting back and hoping they miss a lot of shots, because with their speed and athletic ability they'll just come down and jump up over you. So we've got to be in good position, and then we've got to rebound.''
The Mavs know that Westbrook is, as they say, the head of the snake, as far as the Thunder goes. That's why without Westbrook in that Mar. 16 game, the Mavs were able to overpower the Thunder 109-86.
"Obviously, Westbrook brings a different element,'' guard Devin Harris said. "He’s going to create some different problems, but we've got to take that same type of mentality (they had on Mar. 16).
"He's aggressive everywhere on the court – coast-to-coast, 3-pointers -- and if his jump shot is hitting he's tough to deal with. You just got to try to make him take tough shots without fouling him.''\
-- Dwain Price
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