Shawn Marion To Guard Kevin Durant As Mavericks Open Series With Thunder

Shawn Marion will draw first duty on defending Kevin Durant, reports Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas. Marion, the Dallas Mavericks' starting small forward, will match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder's two-time scoring champ; the other option was DeShawn Stevenson. But Caplan reports the former Wizard will start at shooting guard and defend Russell Westbrook to open the series.

Caplan notes that Stevenson had the most success on Durant in the regular season; Marion is, however, bigger and more likely to play long minutes. Stevenson will make way for Jason Terry, though Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle may need to keep Stevenson in the game to handle Westbrook and instead pull point guard Jason Kidd.

James Harden, OKC's reserve two-guard, could also cause matchup problems when he joins Westbrook and Durant on the floor; that's a whole lot of offense for Dallas to handle, and makes playing someone like Kidd or reserve small forward Peja Stojakovic a bit terrifying.

Durant scored 39 points in the Thunder's Game 7 win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. He's averaging 28.9 points per game on an incredible .594 True Shooting percentage in the playoffs. KD averaged 29.3 points per game in three games against Dallas in the regular season.

For more on the Mavericks, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas.

Via Rob Mahoney.

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