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Oklahoma City Thunder to be without top two scorers tonight against Dallas

By Mike Baldwin - Staff Writer Modified: March 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm •  Published: March 2, 2009
The Thunder will be facing Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks tonight without their two leading scorers.

Jeff Green, hampered by a sore lower back, will not play. Kevin Durant remains sidelined with a severely sprained right ankle he suffered Friday night in a 110-108 overtime loss at Dallas.

“We know two of our leading scorers are out but guys are going to have an opportunity to fill in,” said coach Scott Brooks. “I understand it won’t be pretty at times. Guys will have to play hard with a lot of toughness. I look forward to guys stepping up tonight.”

Green, averaging 17.2 points, averaged 27.5 points the last two games when Durant has been sidelined. Green was the only Oklahoma City player who has played in every game this season. He has the league’s 12th longest consecutive games started streak.

Durant is the league’s fourth leading scorer (26.0). Durant was leading the league in scoring in February (33.0) before suffering the injury.

“A coach told me a long time ago, all you need is five,” Brooks said. “We have more than that. We’ll be fine. We’ll put our best guys on the court. They’ll play the hardest. Whoever gets more minutes than they normally do, they’re going to have to take advantage of that.”

Nick Collison will start in Green’s slot. Center Robert Swift, who played for only the second time since Jan. 9 in the Thunder’s win Saturday night over Memphis, could get extended minutes.

“Robert played well and did a good job protecting the basket,” Brooks said.

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