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Thunder notebook: Defensive stopper

Oklahoman Published: January 30, 2009
Coach Scott Brooks said Jeff Green has the talent to replace the injured Desmond Mason as the team’s defensive stopper. Green said he will embrace that challenge, having guarded Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and other All-Stars.

"It’s all about putting effort into guarding guys,” Green said. "All-Star guys are going to make shots. You can’t get down on yourself, because it could wear on you the whole game. I’m going into it (that) they’re going to make shots, but I’ve got to make sure every shot they take will be a tough shot, be contested.”

Mason hyperextended his knee Wednesday and will miss the rest of the season.

"Desmond is a big part of our defense,” Green said. "He’s an energy guy, a leader on the defensive end. One of us has to step up and take the role of defending their best player. If it’s me, I’m willing to take the challenge.”

Mason had started 19 games this season.

"It’s tough,” said Kevin Durant. "We have to help each other out even more now. We have to rely on each other on the defensive end. Hopefully, we can get the job done, but there’s a big part of our team missing without Desmond.