Dallas Mavericks: Brendan Haywood

DALLAS – Brendan Haywood is still the Mavericks’ starting center.

Coach Rick Carlisle made it clear that Haywood’s benching for the start of the second half in Game 2 is not a trend that will continue. Carlisle typically refuses to reveal his starting lineup until required by the league 16 minutes before tip-off, but he said Haywood would remain the Mavs’ starting center for Game 2.

“He’s started every game all year that he’s been available,” Carlisle said. “We’re not going to change that now. The second half the other night, it’s an outlier situation. It was a gut feel and I went with it, but tomorrow night Wood’s going to be our guy again.”

The 7-foot, 263-pound Haywood, who took over as the starter after Tyson Chandler’s departure in free agency, played only 9:54 in Game 2. He finished with the game with two points, one blocked shot and no rebounds.

Oklahoma City starting center Kendrick Perkins, who is usually not a scoring threat, had seven of his 13 points in the first quarter.

“I played nine minutes last game, so the impact is going to be minimal that game,” said Haywood, who had four points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot in 19 minutes in Game 1. “My whole thing is just to do the same thing. I'm not trying to get out of character. Perkins got open early last time when we had some switches, he switched on Dirk [Nowitzki] a couple times and was able to take advantage. But we're trying to win the game; we're not trying to win any individual matchup.”

After Game 2, Carlisle cited energy and quickness as reasons that influenced his gut feeling to start Ian Mahinmi for the second half. Asked if Haywood needed to play with more energy in Game 3, Carlisle said: “I just think that guys need to do things that they’re capable of doing. When Brendan is out there, we need him to play his game and give us what he can.”

Haywood has taken a professional approach when asked about his playing time.

“I'm fine, that's a coach's decision,” Haywood said. “This is the playoffs; you might play nine minutes, you might play 29. Be ready either way.”
DALLAS – Sometimes all you can do is give credit to the other guy.

That was the case for big man Brendan Haywood after Portland’s All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge hit an overtime buzzer-beater to beat the Dallas Mavericks in front of an American Airlines Center sellout crowd that included several of the Seagoville product's friends and family members.

“You make a 6-11 guy take a one-dribble pull-up shot. He hit it,” said Haywood, whose lateral movement is still affected by the sprained right knee that caused him to miss seven games and requires him to wear a bulky brace. “Tip your hat and get ready for the next game tomorrow.”

With 3.7 seconds remaining, Aldridge caught the ball outside the 3-point arc on the left side of the floor, took one hard dribble to his right to get to the elbow and launched a 17-foot stepback that swished through the net, framed by the red light of the backboard.

“It was so fast, they couldn’t scheme me on that,” said Aldridge, who finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds. “I just popped to the ball, got to my spot and shot it real quick.”

It was an All-Star moment for Aldridge. Although point guard Raymond Felton played his best game in a Portland uniform, scoring a season-high 30 points, there was never any question about who the Trail Blazers were going to go to with the game on the line.

“We’re going to LaMarcus,” Trail Blazers coach Kaleb Canales said. “LaMarcus hit a big shot. Big-time player, big-time shot.”

Nothing the Mavs’ big man could do about it.

Brendan Haywood expects to return Friday

March, 29, 2012
Mavericks center Brendan Haywood is ready to return from a sprained right knee, but he expects to wait one more day to play.

Mavs C Brendan Haywood talks about Thursday's finals rematch against the Heat and says the tentative plan is to table his return until Friday's game against Dwight Howard and the Magic.

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Haywood said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben and Skin Show that the tentative plan is to wait until Friday night's game against All-NBA center Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. Haywood has missed the last six games entering tonight's Finals rematch against the Miami Heat.

"I think the training staff is leaning toward having me play tomorrow, because with it being a back-to-back and us playing Dwight in Orlando tomorrow, I think they really want me out there more that game than this game," Haywood said. "In your first game back from injury, it’s tough to come back on a back-to-back. I think right now, I could probably play tonight, but I think they’re leaning toward holding me out and having me play tomorrow, get my minutes and have a couple days rest and then play the next game."

Haywood's work will be cut out for him upon his return. After defending Howard, his defensive assignments next week will be the Clippers' Blake Griffin, the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol and/or Zach Randolph (twice) and the Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge.

Brendan Haywood, Delonte West upgraded

March, 26, 2012
DALLAS – The Mavericks’ roster is close to being whole again.

Center Brendan Haywood and guard Delonte West participated in Monday’s practice and will be listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Houston Rockets. Haywood (sprained right knee) has missed the last five games. West (fractured right ring finger) has been out since Feb. 15.

“We didn’t do a lot of live contact things today, but they went through a lot of other stuff,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “So they’re inching closer.”

Haywood’s status for Tuesday’s rematch with the Rockets will likely be determined after shootaround. West realistically won’t be ready until at least Thursday’s game against the Miami Heat.

West, whose bone popped out of the skin when he was injured trying to make a steal against the Nuggets, said he might not be able to return until next week. He knows he’ll have to deal with significant pain.

“I ain’t going to lie to you, that [expletive] hurts,” West said. "I guess it’s the mental thing of just feeling like you’re not going to break it again. Ever time you take some serious contact on it, pain is a rude awakening for you. But like I say, the more I do it, the more I dig in the rice bucket, and work on it, crank on it, get the motion back, the more I’m able to do.

"I think maybe a nice, solid, good week of theraphy and strengthening, I should be back out there."

Brendan Haywood sprains right knee

March, 15, 2012
DALLAS -- Mavs center Brendan Haywood is hurt again.

Haywood headed to the locker room after spraining his right knee during the third quarter of Thursday's game against the Bobcats. Haywood will not return to the game, but the Mavs are describing the sprain as "mild."

Haywood injured his left ankle on the first possession of the March 5 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He missed the remainder of that game and the next four, returning for Tuesday's win over the Washington Wizards.

Haywood is averaging 5.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game and is the backbone of a defense that has slipped to ninth in the NBA in points allowed. He had six points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes against the Bobcats.

Brendan Haywood likely out vs. Suns

March, 8, 2012
Mavericks center Brendan Haywood will probably miss his second consecutive game due to a sprained left ankle.

“I don't think he's going to play tonight,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Haywood was a limited participant during the Mavs’ morning shootaround in Phoenix.

Backup big man Brandan Wright, who is recovering from a concussion suffered during Friday’s loss in New Orleans, did not make the road trip. That leaves Ian Mahinmi as the only healthy center with any significant experience with the Mavs.

Mahinmi has played well as the Mavs’ primary center since Haywood injured his ankle on the opening possession in Monday’s loss in Oklahoma City. He has averaged 11.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in the last two games.

Mahinmi will have his hands full with Suns center Marcin Gortat, a former Mavs free agency target who has blossomed in his first season as a full-time starter, averaging 16.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.

Fountain of Youth: Hopeful for a trio of big men

February, 15, 2012
Our weekly look at the Mavericks' young players.

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson recently spoke of three young big men the organization is excited about during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben & Skin Show.

All three were acquired in the past few months. The first of the three signed, Brandan Wright, is currently showing the most promise. A career power forward, the 24-year-old North Carolina product is adjusting to playing the center position and is pushing the struggling Ian Mahinmi for minutes behind Brendan Haywood. In his fourth season and finally healthy, Wright's minutes remain sporadic, but he's become a favorite of coach Rick Carlisle's because of the energy and enthusiasm he brings. He's become a fan favorite because of his propensity to throw down roof-scrapping two-handed dunks.

Sean Williams, whose contract was fully guaranteed last week, is in true developmental mode. He was assigned to D-League affiliate Texas Legends in Frisco early on and with virtually no opportunity to crack the Mavs' rotation he's remained there. The former Mansfield High star had his share of troubles when at Boston College and in his previous NBA stint, but Williams, 25, seems determined to do what it takes to stick. He's started 16 of 17 games for the Legends and is averaging 16.0 points on 54.4 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds in 28.4 minutes. He leads in blocks with 41.

And then there's the man with the contingent of Chinese press that surrounds his locker whether he plays or not. And lately the soft-shooting, 7-foot Yi Jianlian, 24, hasn't seen much action. Since logging 37 minutes in consecutive games on Jan. 25 and 27, he's played a total of 19 minutes in the last nine games and three minutes in the last five.

As for the team's main youngster in the backcourt, Rodrigue Beaubois' season and career remain a roller coaster. Hopes were raised once again for a sustained breakthrough from the soft-spoken 23-year-old early in Jason Kidd's latest injury absence. But, his performances waned and with Kidd back in the lineup, Beaubois has not gotten off the bench in three consecutive games.

What can he do to get back in?

Carlisle had a familiar answer to that question the other night: Just be ready.

3-pointer: Lamar Odom gets call-out from coach

February, 12, 2012
DALLAS -- Lamar Odom's performances as a Dallas Maverick have been so underwhelming this season that on those nights when he shows a pulse, plays with a purpose and contributes to a victory, it gets bear-hug treatment from coach Rick Carlisle.

So when Odom played 23 minutes Saturday night with confidence, attacked and knocked down shots, contributing 10 points, five rebounds and no turnovers (and truth be told he was robbed of at least a pair of assists) in the wild 97-94 double overtime victory against Portland, Carlisle ranked the performance among the forward's best.

"I thought Lamar Odom played one of his best games of the year tonight," Carlisle said. "He had great energy, he was attacking, he was into the game. Dirk had some struggles early in the third, we went to Lamar, he made a couple big plays, hit a 3, it was stuff that kept us going during a tough spot."

At the 7:11 mark of third quarter, Nowitzki fouled Gerald Wallace for and-1, didn't like the call, made his feelings about it known and got hit with a technical. He sat down for the next five-plus minutes with Portland scraping and scrambling to try to get back in the game.

Odom immediately drained a 3-pointer and Vince Carter followed with his own to balloon the lead back to 14. Odom hit another 3 with 8:51 to go that increased a shrinking six-point lead to nine. Moments earlier he put a spin move on Nicolas Batum and put it in off the glass.

"I think right now it's important for me to play well and give the big fella a little bit of a break without us falling off too much. And when I say the big fella, I mean Dirk," Odom said. "He deserves a rest and deserves to be able to come out of the game and for the team not too fall off too much."

Odom finished 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-3 in the second half when the Mavs needed it most.

"My body is getting back to where it needs to be," Odom said. "I feel a lot more comfortable and confident making moves. And not just making a move, but coming up out of the move, making a move or two and getting out of it and being explosive, being able to share the ball and make the right basketball play.

"Now, If I could hit a free throw then I'll be able to finish these games."

Odom, 0-of-2 at the line and shooting a woeful 57.5 percent on the season, might not be closing out games anyway. He won't be bumping Dirk Nowitzki out of the lineup, and Shawn Marion, who grabbed five of his team-high 12 rebounds in the second overtime, certainly won't go quietly.

But it's one step at a time, and on Saturday night Odom took another one.

Here's three more things to consider after the Mavs won their third in a row to move back to a season-high six games over .500:

1. Big Brendan Haywood: LaMarcus Aldridge showed why he's an All-Star with his 33-point, 12-rebound effort Saturday night. He made 14-of-26 shots and split his rebounds evenly at both ends. But, give the Mavs' 7-foot center credit, too. Dallas uses its centers to guard Aldridge, a power forward, because the Blazers don't have an offensive threat at the 5. That's a big job for Haywood, who must cover a lot of ground against the far more agile Aldridge, whose bread-and -butter is a beautiful mid-range fall-away. Haywood made his younger opponent work for his points and Aldridge had to double-pump in mid-air just to get his first overtime game-tying attempt up, and it bounced around the rim before dropping. Hawyood logged 38 minutes, nine more than his previous season high, leaving Ian Mahinmi and new fan favorite Brandan Wright mostly to watch from the sideline. Haywood finished with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting and 10 rebounds, his sixth double-figure rebound game of the season.

2. Turnovers are weird: The Mavs were fortunate to escape Minnesota having committed 18 turnovers (mostly because the Timberwolves coughed it up a remarkable 28 times). So Dallas was even more fortunate to get away with 23 turnovers Saturday night against Portland. The return of Jason Kidd was supposed to help cut down turnovers, so 41 in the last two games is certainly a cause for concern. The Mavs were turnover-free after one quarter and then committed eight in each the second and third quarters. The Blazers converted the 23 turnovers into only 23 points. Carlisle noted his concern by saying, "We're doing some things that are just uncharacteristically weird out there with the ball, and it's not like us.''

3. Free Roddy B?: Well, the return of Jason Kidd has sent Rodrigue Beaubois back to the end of the bench -- the deep, deep end. In Kidd's two games back, Beaubois has not played a second, has not needed to remove his sweats. He had the nice bounce-back game at Denver, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting one game after it appeared his confidence was totally shot (again) at Cleveland. It's so hard to figure what Beaubois' future holds. With Delonte West playing well, the minutes are going to be limited and maybe reserved for garbage time or strategically placed during extremely busy portions of the schedule. As of now the latest Free Roddy B revival was a short-lived one.
DENVER -- Two of Rick Carlisle’s favorite words sum up the roles of the Mavericks’ reserve big men right now: “Be ready.”

The only certainty regarding the Mavs’ center position is that Brendan Haywood will continue to be the starter. Carlisle has explained to Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright that their playing time could be unpredictable.

That isn’t an excuse for a lack of production from the backup big men.

“When called upon, they have to go in there and give us energy and rebounding and the things we ask our five men to do within our system,” Carlisle said. “Sometimes there aren’t enough minutes to play everybody. And really, it’s a decision I got to make but it doesn’t mean Ian has fallen out of favor or anything like that. It just means Wright earned the opportunity the other night and played well enough to earn the opportunity to stay in the game.”

Mahinmi has been a bright spot most of the season, averaging 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game, but Carlisle opted not to play him Saturday night in Cleveland.

That wasn’t necessarily meant as a message to Mahinmi. Wright simply has produced consistently in limited opportunities, leading Carlisle to expand the high flyer’s role.

“Brandan plays above the rim better than anybody else on our team,” Carlisle said. “He has some unique abilities that help us and so does Ian. Look, we’ve got to turn our center position into one of our strengths. And for a long stretch, it was. And I still believe it is. Those guys got to be a three-headed monster for us.”

Mahinmi said he didn’t try to read anything into his DNP a few nights ago. He gets that he isn’t guaranteed minutes, but Mahinmi’s mindset isn’t changing.

“I still see myself as Brendan Haywood’s backup,” Mahinmi said. I’m going to be ready to go any time [Carlisle] calls my name.”

Fountain of Youth: Intrigue on two fronts

February, 8, 2012
Our weekly look at the Mavericks' young players:

And suddenly there's intrigue at backup center.

The full-game benching of Ian Mahinmi came as a surprise Saturday at Cleveland. So did the fact that Brandan Wright logged 29 minutes and 18 consecutively when he re-entered the game midway through the third quarter. Wright has certainly come to understand the Rick Carlisle mantra of "Be Ready." Against Oklahoma City, Wright played 25 minutes, then got just four minutes two nights later against Indiana.

In his two high-minute games in the last three, Wright produced 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting and nine rebounds (eight coming Saturday at Cleveland).

"He’s just been active and productive," Carlisle said. "A combination of those two things is a real positive. Activity, energy, he’s a positive vibe-type kid and he’s getting better. He’s working really hard on his game. A lot of good things."

Those are all things Carlisle has said about Mahinmi in the opening third of the season.

But, the 6-foot-11 Frenchman, who was actually splitting minutes evenly with starting center Brendan Haywood, has dipped recently. Since going for 17 points and nine rebounds on Jan. 23, he's managed just 28 points and 31 rebounds in the last 6 games (4.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg).

So it will certainly be interesting to see which way Carlisle goes in tonight's game at the Denver Nuggets and Nene.

On a second front, Rodrigue Beaubois' recent slump has come at bad time with Jason Kidd still nursing a strained right calf and, more importantly, Beaubois trying to prove he's a valuable rotation piece to this puzzle. Beaubois was removed from the starting lineup at Cleveland after four consecutive starts at point guard and five overall. After playing 32 or more minutes in three of four games, he's logged just 20 and 21 in the last two games and he's mired in a 5-of-23 shooting slump in the last three games.

Does Carlisle stick with Delonte West as the starting point guard tonight with Kidd likely out for a sixth consecutive game? Either way, Beaubois figures to be on the court at some point. The question becomes will Beaubois earn do enough to stay on the floor in a game Dallas desperately needs?

It all leaves intrigue on two fronts.

Wright has vote of one team veteran

February, 7, 2012
DALLAS -- Brandan Wright had no idea that when he entered Saturday's game at Cleveland with 6:48 to go in the third quarter he wouldn't come out again.

He made the most of his 29 total minutes in that game, with 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. While he played and played, backup center Ian Mahinmi, who has had an impressive season, sat and sat, registering his lone DNP-CD of the season.

It makes for an interesting situation entering Wednesday's game at Denver as to how coach Rick Carlisle will handle the center rotation.

If it were up to Jason Terry, Wright -- who has played in 14 of 25 games and has averaged 10.5 minutes a game -- would be in the rotation.

"I’ve already put my bid in for Brandan Wright," Terry said. "I’ve already expressed that he should play every night, whether it’s five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, but he has to play. I mean just because he’s an energy guy. For me, off the bench, he’s good with that unit that I have. He automatically gets the ball." Many on alley-oops from Terry.

Mahinmi's hot start (which has hit a bit of a wall over the last week) kept Wright, who has played mostly power foward and not center in his career, on the bench. Then the addition of Yi Jianlian added more competition.

But Wright has continually produced when given the opportunity.

"I appreciate Jet saying that," Wright said. "Jet is one of the guys that has taken me under his wing, trying to show me everything, trying to build something so we can do something special this year."

With really no minutes available at power forward, it's going to have to be center or bust for Wright and Yi on most nights. With Brendan Haywood seemingly entrenched as the starter and Mahinmi surely not on the outs as the primary backup, the competition for minutes at the 5 should be intense.

"I’m comfortable [at the 5] because one of my best strengths is I can finish around the basket," Wright said. "My length, jumping ability, athletic ability, I can jump over guys. That’s one of my best assets even though I like to play the 4, but playing the 5 is fine. You get good matchups, guys have trouble covering me and then on the defensive end I can block a lot of shots also."

W2W4: Don't sleep on these Pacers

February, 3, 2012

DALLAS -- Rick Carlisle coached the Indiana Pacers to the Eastern Conference finals and through the much darker days during the aftermath of the brawl in Detroit.

He loves the way team president Larry Bird has re-built a team that has only Danny Granger and Jeff Foster left from Carlisle's years. The big addition in free agency for this season was former New Orleans Hornets forward David West, who initially appeared on his way to Boston before choosing the Pacers. With 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert emerging and Granger continuing to lead the team in scoring, the Pacers are off to a 15-6 start and they've done it despite playing 14 of 21 on the road, going 9-5.

Rick Carlisle explains what went wrong Wednesday night against the Thunder and why the Mavs can't overlook the Pacers and Cavs on their upcoming road trip.

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"They're now a championship-contending team," Carlisle said. "Now they're in a healthy place financially with their cap. Larry Bird has done a phenomenal job. That team would be second in the West with their record. That's the other thing, the schedule's coming back to them because they're going to be home a lot. Look, they have a really, really good veteran, young team. They can beat anybody."

Records: Pacers (15-6); Mavs (14-9)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center


Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: The Mavs expect to have Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood and Lamar Odom back in the lineup tonight. Marion hyperextended his right knee in Wednesday's game, but he played through the pain and said he'll play tonight. Without Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki slumping, Dallas needs its top players in the game and that includes Haywood's interior defense and rebounding, and Odom as well. It's high time that the 6-10 Odom, one of the more versatile fowards in the game, comes through, not only for his production, to help ease Nowitzki's minutes. Nowitzki played 38 minutes in two of the last three games since his return and that's likely too many.

Key matchup: Roy Hibbert vs. Brendan Haywood
Haywood said Thursday that he expects to play and the Mavs need his 7-foot, 263-pound frame to man the middle against the 7-2, 260-pound Hibbert. The fourth-year pro out of Georgetown has quietly become one of the top centers in the league, averaging 14.0 points on 52.5 percent shooting and 9.8 rebounds. Haywood won't match his scoring, but he has to be a force in pushing Hibbert away from the basket as well as making his presence felt on the boards. Hibbert is a big reason why no team grabs more rebounds per game than the Pacers, who rank seventh in rebounding differential. Dallas ranks 18th.

Injuries: Pacers - G George Hill (left ankle) is out; F Jeff Foster (lower back) is out. Mavs - G Jason Kidd (strained right calf ) is out; F Shawn Marion (hyperextended right knee) is probable; C Brendan Haywood (lower back) is probable; F Lamar Odom (stomach) is probable.

Up next: Mavs at Cleveland Cavaliers, 6:30 p.m., Saturday

Mavs want to keep Brendan Haywood 'mad'

January, 30, 2012
DALLAS – The Mavericks rank fourth among NBA teams in scoring defense, third in defensive efficiency and have allowed the fewest points in the paint.

They’ve improved significantly in all of those statistical categories since last season, when Tyson Chandler led a defense that was good enough to make a title run. The Mavs ranked 10th in the NBA in scoring defense, eight in defensive efficiency and 11th in points allowed in the paint in 2010-11.

Jason Terry doesn’t want to give big man Brendan Haywood too much credit for the Mavs’ defensive success so far this season. Not because the big man doesn’t deserve it, but Terry wants to make sure that Haywood maintains his edge.

“People talked a lot about Tyson leaving,” Terry said, alluding to the motivational power that might have had with Haywood. “I don’t want to stroke the guy too much, because I like where he’s at right now. I want to keep him mad and worrying that Tyson is gone, but he’s doing a hell of a job. He just has to continue doing what he’s doing.”

The Spurs caught fire from 3-point range to give the Mavs a serious scare Sunday, but Haywood might have had his best defensive performance of the season in the overtime win. He blocked a season-high five shots while holding Tim Duncan to 12 points.

“Look, Haywood’s been great really most of the year,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I mean, the last three weeks he’s been phenomenal. He’s given us great basket coverage. He’s rebounding well. He’s a presence around the basket at both ends of the floor. He’s an anchor for us right now.”

3-pointer: Avoiding a fourth buzzer-beater

January, 30, 2012
DALLAS -- Under Rick Carlisle, the Mavericks have been incredibly good at winning close games. In fact, nobody's been better over the last couple of seasons.

That's why three buzzer-beater losses in the first 15 games came as a total stunner. So, how about four in 21 games? Had San Antonio's Danny Green released the basketball a millisecond sooner on his wet baseline jumper at the buzzer, it would have happened. On the floor, the referees ruled it a good bucket giving the Spurs, down 18 in the third quarter, an apparent and miraculous, 93-91 victory.

"I thought the game was over," said Dirk Nowitzki after his first game back. "Gave up another last-second shot so we've got to lead the league in the category."

Vince Carter thought it was over, too. He started walking off and then caught the replay on the big screens overhead.

Fortunately for Dallas, in the NBA, they go to replay in such cases and the final frozen frame indeed revealed the ball barely hanging on Green's fingertips when the red light bordering the backboard flashed. The shot was nullified, the points wiped away, overtime ensued and Dallas escaped with the 101-100 victory in the wildest of some pretty wild games so far.

Of course, Green missed a last-ditch 3-pointer to win at the overtime buzzer at the end of a bumbling final possession.

"It's a wacky year and there's a lot of things going on with crazy scores and leads and deficits disappearing," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "So you've got to be ready for anything and we're fortunate, but it's a good win."

The win gave Dallas it's third in closing out a four-game homestand and moved the Mavs into sole possession of first place in the Southwest Division. Since the three consecutive losses to open the season, including Kevin Duran't buzzer-beating 3-pointer at Oklahoma City on Dec. 30, Dallas is 13-5.

With the team sleeping in before a third game already against the Suns and first in Phoenix, here's several items to peruse:

1. Brendan Haywood won't relinquish block lead: Surely there's some unwritten rule that a 7-footer can't have fewer blocks than a 6-2 guard. But, at the rate that Rodrigue Beaubois has been stuffing shots lately, Haywood was in real jeopardy of losing his team lead in the category. Beaubois picked up a career-high four blocks Friday night and climbed to within three of Haywood, despite playing more than 150 fewer minutes. On Sunday, Haywood had enough of it and slapped away a season-high five blocks to give him 23 in 21 games. It was a good thing because Beaubois came up with three more to give him 18 on the season and 14 in the last six games.

2. Terry goes off, but not the deep end: Terry lit up the Spurs for a season-high 34 points on 14-of-23 shooting Sunday night. It was his first 30-point outing of the season and first since March 1 of last season when he scored 30 at Philadelphia (regular season of course, Terry had 32 on 9-of-10 shooting from the arc in Game 4 against the Lakers). Terry scored his 34 Sunday with the help of just one 3-point basket, and he attempted only three shots from beyond the arc. He's attempted three or fewer shots from downtown just three other times this season and not since Jan. 1o.

3. Delonte West trending a bit south: The combo guard was all the rage the first few weeks of the season, but he's fallen on some difficult times of late. After sitting out Friday's game with a tight right hamstring, he returned Sunday, but was not in the starting lineup as has been the case since the second game of the season. Vince Carter reclaimed the starting shooting guard spot with Rodrigue Beaubois starting at point guard in place of the injured Jason Kidd. West went just 1-of-6 from the field for two points. He had no assists and three rebounds in 15:46. In his last three games, West has made a single field goal in each, going 3-of-15 with six assists and four turnovers.

Is Rodrigue Beaubois best shot blocker?

January, 28, 2012

DALLAS -- How is it that the shortest guy on the team is the Dallas Mavericks' best shot blocker?

It starts with the 6-foot-2 (and that might be a stretch) Rodrigue Beaubois' insanely long arms. He is making mid-air swats on opponents attempting to drive, as he did Friday night in flicking away Devin Harris' baseline penetration. But he's also getting more than his share of blocks on perimeter jumpers.

That's all about good defensive positioning and timing. Last week at Utah, Beaubois got his right arm fully extended and blocked 6-foot-8 forward Paul Millsap's jumper at the point of release. On Friday against the Jazz, Beaubois did the same to guard Earl Watson. Beaubois then tapped the ball forward to Jason Terry, who flew in for an uncontested layup.

That block was just one of a career-high four on the night for the third-year guard, who has 11 blocks in the last five games and 15 on the season. He ranks second on the team in total blocks, just three fewer than 7-foot starting center Brendan Haywood and two more than Beaubois' buddy, 6-foot-11 backup center Ian Mahinmi. Beaubois, though, has logged 156 fewer minutes than Haywood and 126 fewer than Mahinmi.

"God gave me long arms and I'm just trying to use it," Beaubois said. "Sometimes I am going to block shots, sometimes I don't. But when I can I am going to do my best to block shots."

At this rate, Beaubois' .83 blocks-per-game average will soon exceed Haywood's team-best .90 average. Beaubois also has 20 steals on the season. That ranks fifth on the team in total steals, but first in steals per minute played.

As equally impressive is that Beaubois is creating turnovers without fouling. This has been a major issue for him over his first two seasons and particularly last season after he finally returned from the broken left foot. It wasn't surprising for Beaubois to pick up two quick fouls and find himself back on the bench.

He still has a fairly high number of fouls (29) for his minutes played, but he hasn't had more than three in a game since the second game of the season, and he hasn't been nailed by cheap, quick fouls in succession that force him to sit.

"My first year I was fouling a lot and it's something that the coaches tried to talk to me about, something I needed to get better at," Beaubois said. "I'm just trying to play defense without fouling, using my length without touching the guy too much and just trying to get better with it."



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9