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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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The Brooklyn Nets enter Year 2 of their return to New York with a new, win-now look after the big offseason trade to get Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. It did not take long for both the Nets and the Knicks to lay claim to the hearts and minds of all New Yorkers. Re-signed J.R. Smith insists that the Knicks have not lost any ground to the Nets. New Net Pierce says his hate for the Knicks "has grown a little" and that he's ready to have his new team take over his new city. Let the fireworks begin!


Better lineup?

The Nets added Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to their starting lineup, while the Knicks' starters should be the same as last season.

SportsNation

Which team will have the better starting lineup in 2013-14?

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Battle for New York?

Last year, New York and Brooklyn tied the season series with two wins each, but the Knicks won the Atlantic Division by five games over the Nets.

SportsNation

The Knicks and Nets play four times in 2013-14. How will the series go?

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One more title?

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett teamed up to win a title with the Boston Celtics in the 2007-08 season, the only championship for both.

SportsNation

Will Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett win an NBA title with the Nets?

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Comment »

 

A shooting guard's primary role is to score points -- a skill Kobe Bryant and James Harden have mastered as two of the NBA's top five scorers last season. They are also proficient from behind the arc, as Danny Green and Kevin Martin have proven to be. Who is the league's best two guard? NBA insider Bradford Doolittle had his say and so did the NBA 5-on-5 crew, but now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in. Set your rankings below!

Rank 'Em: Power forwards | Point guards | Centers | NBA teams' under-25 talent

NBA Shooting Guards

Tony Allen

Tony Allen

Grizzlies
2012-13: 8.9 PPG, 1.2 APG, 4.6 RPG

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

Lakers
2012-13: 27.3 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.6 RPG

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal

Wizards
2012-13: 13.9 PPG, 2.4 APG, 3.8 RPG

Vince Carter

Vince Carter

Mavericks
2012-13: 13.4 PPG, 2.4 APG, 4.1 RPG

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan

Raptors
2012-13: 18.1 PPG, 2.5 APG, 3.9 RPG

Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis

Mavericks
2012-13: 19.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.9 RPG

Tyreke Evans

Tyreke Evans

Pelicans
2012-13: 15.2 PPG, 3.5 APG, 4.4 RPG

Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili

Spurs
2012-13: 11.8 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.4 RPG

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon

Pelicans
2012-13: 17.0 PPG, 3.3 APG, 1.8 RPG

Danny Green

Danny Green

Spurs
2012-13: 10.5 PPG, 1.8 APG, 3.1 RPG

James Harden

James Harden

Rockets
2012-13: 25.9 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.9 RPG

Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson

Nets
2012-13: 16.3 PPG, 3.5 APG, 3.0 RPG

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin

Timberwolves
2012-13: 14.0 PPG, 1.4 APG, 2.3 RPG

Wesley Matthews

Wesley Matthews

Trail Blazers
2012-13: 14.8 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.8 RPG

O.J. Mayo

O.J. Mayo

Bucks
2012-13: 15.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.5 RPG

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith

Knicks
2012-13: 18.1 PPG, 2.7 APG, 5.3 RPG

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson

Warriors
2012-13: 16.6 PPG, 2.2 APG, 3.7 RPG

Marcus Thornton

Marcus Thornton

Kings
2012-13: 12.7 PPG, 1.3 APG, 2.5 RPG

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

Heat
2012-13: 21.5 PPG, 5.1 APG, 5.0 RPG

Louis Williams

Louis Williams

Hawks
2012-13: 14.1 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.1 RPG

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He might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of the NBA's great "clutch" players, but Joe Johnson has some serious last-second credentials, and he added to them Tuesday night. Johnson hit a game-tying three-pointer near the end of regulation to force overtime, then topped that with a game-winner at the buzzer. It was Johnson's second game-winning field goal with no time left this season, and his eighth career game-winning basket in the last five seconds of a game. So where does Brooklyn's star rank among the league's best clutch players? Click on the images to set your rankings!

Most clutch players in NBA

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks
14 career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers
16 career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder
Five career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

Rudy Gay

Rudy Gay

Toronto Raptors
Eight career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving

Cleveland Cavaliers
Four career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

LeBron James

LeBron James

Miami Heat
Seven career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson

Brooklyn Nets
Eight career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

Chris Paul

Chris Paul

Los Angeles Clippers
Eight career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce

Boston Celtics
10 career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

Miami Heat
11 career game-winning baskets in last 5 seconds of 4th quarter/OT

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