Shawn Marion's value keeps soaring

DALLAS -- The Oklahoma City Thunder's ultra-dynamic All-Star duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook raised their shooting percentages this season to career highs.

Durant hit for 49.6 percent; Westbrook for 45.7. In seizing a 2-0 first-round series lead over the Dallas Mavericks, Durant has stumbled to 34.1 percent; Westbrook has rocketed to 52.3.

An explanation?

There's one: The Matrix.

Mavs small forward Shawn Marion is again applying defensive clamps to one of the league's top scorers -- in fact, the No. 1 scorer the past three seasons. The 6-foot-7 Marion might give up four good inches to the incredibly long-limbed Durant, and a decade-plus on the birth certificate, but there's nothing old about the game Marion is delivering in this series.

He has been so good in forcing Durant into 15-of-44 shooting -- which to Marion's frustration includes, as he put it, the "tough-ass shot, lucky bounce" Game 1 winner that overshadowed Durant's 10-of-27 night -- that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle hasn't ruled out shifting Marion at times onto the explosive Westbrook during Thursday's Game 3 in Dallas.

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