Eddy Curry on Dwight Howard: 'I can't wait, man'

LOS ANGELES -- On paper, it’s probably the biggest big man mismatch you’ll see in the NBA this season.

All-NBA Dwight Howard vs. almost-out-of-the-NBA Eddy Curry.

“I can’t wait, man,” said Curry, who was thrust into the Mavericks’ starting lineup after being claimed on waivers last week. “I probably won’t even sleep this afternoon. I’m just going to try to calm down as much as possible and treat this like a normal game, a normal situation, even though it’s not.”

It’s been a long time since Curry, the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft, has been in the spotlight like this. He’s played a grand total of 24 games over the last four seasons due to weight problems and other issues.

Now Curry, filling in for oft-injured Chris Kaman, is the opposing big man in Howard’s Lakers debut

One of Curry’s goals in the opener in L.A. is to avoid being added to Howard’s lengthy highlight reel.

“The biggest thing for me is staying between him and the basket,” said Curry, who admits that he’s never been known as a great defender. “He’s going to make some shots early. If he makes a lot of them, good for him, it’s going to be a good night (for Howard).

“But I’d rather that than dunks over the top, because that’s the stuff that gets the whole team going and whole crowd going, and it’s a little bit demoralizing as a defensive team.”

Coach Rick Carlisle, who refers to Howard as a “monster,” said the Mavs plan to attack Howard offensively any way they can. Yes, the Mavs are well aware that Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but they want to make him work as hard as possible on both ends of the floor, especially with an achy back.

One of the ways to make Howard work is to get Curry, who has a career average of 13 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting, the ball on the block.

“He’s a great defender, one of the best in the league,” Curry said. “But if you can get him moving around a little bit, working on defense, you have a better chance. If he’s out there and able to catch his breath on defense, it’s going to be a long night.”