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Russell WestbrookDennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY SportsRussell Westbrook is averaging 27.4 points, 8.3 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game this season.

Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook has been on a tear this season. Even after he fractured his cheekbone after taking an inadvertent knee to the face, Westbrook returned to the court a few days later unfazed -- and with some new face gear.

It got us thinking about other notable NBA players who have worn masks at some point in their careers:

LeBron James

In 2014, LeBron's black carbon-fiber mask was a hit among fans, but the NBA requested he wear a clear mask to protect his then-broken nose. Even so, LeBron managed to be LeBron, scoring 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting in a game Feb. 27 against the New York Knicks. 

LeBron JamesMarc Serota/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant

Mask or no mask, Kobe is going to score. But with the mask, he put up 38 points and eight rebounds in a game against the Sacramento Kings on March 2, 2012.

Kobe Bryant David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images

Chris Paul

After being elbowed in the nose by San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green in a game on March 9, 2012, Paul wore a mask for several weeks to protect his face.

Chris PaulNoah Graham/Getty Image

Richard Hamilton

Hamilton made the mask a thing of his own. Despite breaking his nose during the 2003-2004 NBA season, Hamilton led the Detroit Pistons' championship team in scoring with 17.6 points per game. Hamilton went on to wear the mask the rest of his career.

Richard HamiltonAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving

After his jaw was broken, the mask affected Irving in a good way. The Cavaliers' point guard had what was at the time a career-high 41 points, plus five rebounds and five assists against the Knicks on Dec. 15, 2012.

Kyrie IrvingDavid Liam Kyle/Getty Images

Tracy McGrady

McGrady needed to wear a protective mask in 2006 when he played for the Houston Rockets after taking an accidental elbow to the nose from former NBA player Jake Voskuhl.

Tracy McGradyAP Photo/David J. Phillip

Alonzo Mourning

Although it was for a short amount of time, Mourning wore a mask in 1998 to protect his fractured cheekbone.

Alonzo MourningRhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images

Bill Laimbeer

It is fitting that Laimbeer, one of the more physical players in the history of the NBA, needed to wear a mask during his career.

Bill Laimbeer Getty Images

Jason Terry

When Jason Terry was a member of the Dallas Mavericks, he had to hop on the runway wearing a protective mask for a stretch of games during the 2009-2010 season.

Jason TerryGlenn James/Getty Images

Joe Johnson

As a member of the Phoenix Suns, Johnson suffered an orbital fracture during a second-round playoff game against the Mavericks. He missed the rest of that series, but returned in Game 3 of the 2005 Western Conference finals against the eventual NBA champion Spurs.

Joe JohnsonRonald Martinez/Getty Images

Antonio McDyess

The Pistons had two masked men in 2008 when McDyess joined Hamilton as a result of a broken nose.

Antonio McDyessD. Lippitt/Getty Images

Kenyon Martin

When Martin was playing at an All-Star level in 2002, the forward broke his nose during a game against the Miami Heat, forcing him to protect his face.

Kenyon MartinHenny Ray Abrams/AFP/Getty Images

Andrew Bogut

After former Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson's hand hit Bogut in the face during a game in 2005, Bogut rocked the protective mask for a stretch of games as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Andrew Bogut Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Wally Szczerbiak

Broken noses are a theme with protective masks. Szczerbiak wore his mask because of one during a 2009 game against the Knicks.

Wally SzczerbiakJoe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

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Kevin Durant, Russell WestbrookRichard Rowe/NBAE/Getty Images

Unless you've been separated from all technology for the past month, you're aware that Russell Westbrook is on an absolute tear -- five triple-doubles in six games, to be exact. But what you might not be aware of is that NBA analyst and former NBA executive Tom Penn thinks Westbrook's hot streak could have Oklahoma City Thunder management thinking about moving Durant next season:

"I think this burst from Westbrook makes it much more likely that Durant ultimately gets traded next year. ... Sam Presti has proven that he does not ever want to lose anybody for nothing. So he traded James Harden a year early to avoid a potential luxury tax problem a year later.

"The Kevin Durant drumbeat next year is going to be so loud because he will not commit early to Oklahoma City contractually because the rules are against that. He can't get the same contract if he signs early as if he just goes to free agency and resigns.

So if Sam Presti doesn't get that commitment, he'll look to to trade Kevin Durant. And looking at the performance of Westbrook and the team around Westbrook will make it easier for him to do that potentially."

Click here to listen to Penn's full appearance on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd."

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Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports

Spurs slam Thunder in Game 2

Things are getting ugly in the Western Conference finals, after the San Antonio Spurs followed up a strong Game 1 with an earth-shattering Game 2. Danny Green hit seven 3-pointers. Russell Westbrook was held to 15 points on 24 shots and Kevin Durant 15 on 16. In the end, the host Spurs absolutely smashed the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-77 to take a 2-0 series lead. Is this thing over, or will the Thunder get back in it in OKC?

What do you make of the Spurs' 112-77 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals?

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  • Which team will win the Western Conference finals? (Spurs lead 2-0)

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  • Which team will win the NBA title?

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Happy Mother's Day! Here's hoping you sons out there didn't forget. A number of athletes sure didn't, taking to social media to share photos and deliver special messages to some of the most important women in their lives.

Kevin Durant, whose emotional NBA MVP acceptance speech included much love for his mother, Wanda Pratt, shared this powerful image before his Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal:


Teammate Russell Westbrook was among many other NBA stars to take time out -- some from their still-active playoff runs -- to show their love. Also among them: Paul George, the Indiana Pacers All-Star whose mother, Paulette, suffered a stroke when he was 10.


In the NFL, Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas paid tribute to his mother, Debbie, a cancer survivor who was diagnosed two years before Earl was born (she calls him her "miracle baby"):

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sent a greeting to his mother and sister, while teammate NaVorro Bowman got his mom quite the gift:


Newly minted draft picks Sammy Watkins and Carlos Hyde joined NFL players Cameron Jordan and Chance Warmack in talking about their favorite mom-related memories:


Courtesy of Relativity Sports

And on the baseball diamond, where teams throughout Major League Baseball are using pink balls, bats, cleats and other accessories, the Milwaukee Brewers' Carlos Gomez went an extra step to show love for all the moms of the world:


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Kevin DurantLayne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

Who is the hardest player to defend in the NBA? Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers says -- surprise, surprise -- it's Kevin Durant, calling the Oklahoma City Thunder star a taller, better version of George Gervin. Do you agree with Rivers? Where does LeBron James fall on the list? Click on the images below to set your rankings!

Hardest to Defend in NBA

LaMarcus Aldridge

Carmelo Anthony

Kobe Bryant

DeMarcus Cousins

Stephen Curry

Anthony Davis

Goran Dragic

Kevin Durant

Paul George

Blake Griffin

James Harden

Dwight Howard

Kyrie Irving

LeBron James

Al Jefferson

Damian Lillard

Kevin Love

Dirk Nowitzki

Chris Paul

John Wall

Russell Westbrook

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