Old-but-rested Mavs await rapidly maturing Thunder

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_ Matchups

These teams hardly know each other.

Dallas won two of the three regular-season meetings, but that’s pretty meaningless. The Mavs had Caron Butler for the first two games and didn’t have Nowitzki for 1 1/2 of those games. Butler has since gone down for the season and Peja Stojakovic has arrived. The Thunder shored up its interior by adding Perkins.

All eyes will be on how each team covers the other’s superstar.

Shawn Marion will start against Durant, the league’s two-time reigning scoring champion, and will get help from Nowitzki and others _ perhaps even Kidd, who often covered Bryant last round. Carlisle won’t expect Kidd to stay with the speedy Westbrook.

“We’ve got to build a wall on him,” Chandler said. “It’s not about one guy stopping him. It’s about our team slowing him down.”

Oklahoma City will start Serge Ibaka against Nowitzki, with Perkins, Mohammed, Durant, Nick Collison and James Harden among those who also may take turns against the big German.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Durant said, “but it should be fun.”

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