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Thunder vs. Mavericks: A look at Dallas' major roster changes

The Mavericks team that beat the Thunder in five games last May en route to the NBA title is not the same Maverick team that comes to Oklahoma City on Saturday for a first-round playoff series.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 27, 2012
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WING MAN

Gone: DeShawn Stevenson. Signed as a free agent by the Nets. Stevenson was a defensive specialist for Dallas. He averaged 19:50 per game in the playoff series last year and made just six of 28 shots. But he drew the assignment on Kevin Durant early in the game and then often late, giving Shawn Marion much-needed relief. And Durant did not have a strong series, making just 24 of 64 shots the final three games.

Replaced by: Delonte West. Much more of an offensive threat, West has shot 46.1 percent from the field and averaged 9.6 points a game. He's made 33 starts, and he's actually filled Barea's role to some extent, as an excellent penetrator.

EXPERIENCED MARKSMAN

Gone: Peja Stojakovic: Retired. By last season, Peja was a shell of his former self. But he still occasionally nailed some big shots for the Mavs. In five games against OKC, Peja averaged just 5.0 points a game, but he was a plus-15 for the Mavs in their pivotal Game 3 victory in Oklahoma City.

Replaced by: Vince Carter. Carter actually is older (35) this season than Stojakovic was last season (33). But Carter is a better player. Carter has averaged 25.3 minutes and 10.1 points a game. His shooting is sporadic (41.1 percent this season), but he still can deliver big blows, like the go-ahead 3-pointer he drilled in the final seconds of that wild Thunder-Dallas game on Dec. 29.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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