OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rick Carlisle still thinks it was the right move. I respectfully disagree.
A team that’s trying to establish continuity heading into the playoffs shouldn’t make a lineup change to match up with a team playing for lottery ping pong balls. But that’s exactly what Carlisle did when he opted to start DeShawn Stevenson at small forward and bring Shawn Marion off the bench.
“You look at the whole picture,” Carlisle said when asked if he thought the change was a mistake. “I thought Stevenson got off to a good start in the game. He had some good looks in the third, made a 3. I don’t think [the loss] had anything to do with the lineup, and Marion off the bench was really good the last time we were here.”
The switch in the starting lineup wasn’t the reason the Mavs lost, but it didn’t work either. The point of starting Stevenson, whose shooting slump continued with a three-point, 1-of-6 performance in 16 minutes, was to slow down Monta Ellis. That’s the guy who scored a game-high 32 points for Golden State, including 18 in a third quarter in which the Mavs managed to put up only 17 points.
The big picture here is that the Mavs, who have used many lineups this season for a variety of reasons, need to get comfortable with a set rotation. Carlisle said that himself before the Mavs left on this six-game road trip.
Marion, a bright spot in the loss to the Warriors with 21 points and eight rebounds off the bench, has made it clear that he wants a consistent role instead of bouncing back and forth from the starting five to the bench. This was an unnecessary interruption after Marion started the previous five games.
Those are my words, not Marion. I’d be willing to bet he believes the same thing, but he bit his tongue on the topic Saturday night.
“That’s what it is,” Marion said, uttering an intentionally meaningless phrase. “It’s OK. I’ve just got to keep doing what I do. That’s it. That’s it.”
The Mavs will “most likely” go back to the rotation they used the previous five games for the rest of the season, according to Carlisle. Making up his mind and sticking with it would be the right move.