NEW ORLEANS -- Let’s play a little game of One of These Guys Doesn’t Belong Here.
The list of players who have had multiple 15-point, 20-rebound performances against the Mavericks: Al-Farouq Aminu, Charles Barkley, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Al-Farouq Aminu?! How does that happen?
“I was guarding him,” Dirk Nowitzki deadpanned, offering an honest explanation for how a role player for the Pelicans has had the two best games of his career in New Orleans’ last two meetings with the Mavericks. “They were saying I got him multiple contract extensions already by guarding him.”
Aminu, a 6-foot-9 small forward who has averaged 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds during his four NBA seasons, has only 14 double-doubles in his career. Four of those have come against the Mavericks, including a 16-point, 20-rebound outing on April 17 and another 16-20 line Dec. 4.
“He’s really been a thorn in our side for the simple fact that he’s very aggressive,” Vince Carter said. “They don’t run many plays for him, so that’s how he makes his living, and he’s doing a darn good job when he sees the Mavericks.”
The Mavs shouldn’t have to have Nowitzki defend Aminu in Friday night’s game. That matchup was the result of needing to use Shawn Marion to guard perimeter-threat power forward Ryan Anderson, but both Marion (shoulder/ribs) and Anderson (back) are out due to injuries.
Regardless of the matchups, Aminu has Dallas’ full attention. The Mavs might be the only team who worries about Aminu as much as blossoming Pelicans star Anthony Davis.