<
>

Mavs stick with old starting five

DALLAS -- Coach Rick Carlisle's policy is that he never announces his starting lineup until the league-mandated 16 minutes before tip-off.

He made an exception for the preseason opener, seeing how strategy isn't exactly significant in games that don't count.

For at least one night, the Mavs will stick with the same starting five they used down the stretch last season: Brendan Haywood, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler and Jason Kidd.

Don't read too much into that. Rodrigue Beaubois, who began light running this morning, is likely to start at shooting guard when he gets healthy. Either Marion or Butler will probably join Jason Terry as veteran punch off the pine.

"We're doing to look at a lot of different things," Carlisle said. "At this point, those guys [Marion and Butler] deserve to start the first exhibition game. We'll go from there."

Carlisle has good reason for considering change in the starting lineup. He cited an interesting statistic: After the blockbuster trade that brought Haywood and Butler to Dallas, the Mavs ranked 23rd in the league in point differential in the first six minutes of games.