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Vitals: Thunder at Mavericks

Vitals: Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Vitals: Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Originally Published: Jan 15, 2010 11:21 AM CDT

Dave Carty
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

Oklahoma City Thunder (21-17) at Dallas Mavericks (25-13)
Friday, January 15, 2010, 7:30 p.m. CST.
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Game 39 of 82

Anticipated Starting Lineups

Oklahoma City (Away)
Dallas (Home)
Russell Westbrook
16.5 PPG, 7.4 APG
Jason Kidd
8.7 PPG, 8.8 APG
SGThabo Sefolosha
6.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG
Josh Howard
13.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG
SFKevin Durant
28.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG
Shawn Marion
11.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG
PFJeff Green
14.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG
Dirk Nowitzki
25.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG
CNenad Krstic
8.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG
Erick Dampier
7.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG

Oklahoma City: F, Matt Harpring (knee, out); G/F, Kyle Weaver (shoulder, out); G, Kevin Ollie (knee, day-to-day).
San Antonio: F, Eduardo Najera (back, questionable); F, Tim Thomas (Achilles, questionable).

Where to find it?
On TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
On Radio: Thunder Radio Network

What you need to know?
The Dallas Mavericks have lost three of their last five games, but two of those losses came to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Wednesday night, head coach Rick Carlisle tried a rarely used starting five (the one above) and it seems like he’ll stick with it for the time being. Superstar Dirk Nowitzki is just as dangerous as ever, with two 40-plus point games and 11 double-doubles in 37 games.

After a tough-to-swallow overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City travels to Dallas for what may soon be a big NBA rivalry game. But, the Thunder will need to prove it can beat the Mavs on the road. The franchise hasn’t won in Dallas since 2004 and holds an eight game road losing streak since.

Who to watch?
Oklahoma Sports has confirmed that the man wearing DeJuan Blair’s uniform against the Oklahoma City Thunder was, in fact, DeJuan Blair and not Tim Duncan, who actually did sit the game out. If Blair’s 28-point, 21-rebound effort proved anything, it’s that the Thunder are still susceptible down low. With Dirk Nowitzki, Drew Gooden, Shawn Marion and Josh Howard all capable of getting close-range points, the Thunder will have to contain the Mavs without fouling them – best free throw percentage in the NBA.

It may be naive to say Russell Westbrook (19.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 8.7 APG in January) can run circles around Jason Kidd, but the 16-year veteran has slowed a bit. With Westbrook on his torrid pace, he’s capable of a monster game.
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