<
>

Shawn Marion peaking as playoffs approach

There is one Maverick who is without question peaking at the right point of the season.

Shawn Marion has put up his best numbers in a Mavericks uniform during the final fifth of the season. The Matrix, a far better defender than Peja Stojakovic, is averaging 16.3 points on 58 percent shooting and 7.3 rebounds in his last 16 games.

“He’s turned back the clock on us,” Dirk Nowitzki said of Marion, whose last All-Star appearance came four seasons ago.

It’s probably not a coincidence that Marion’s hot streak coincides with his re-insertion into the starting lineup. He has started 13 of the last 16 games, with Rick Carlisle basically granting Marion’s request for consistency with his role.

The Mavs are 13-13 when Marion starts this season despite his excellent offensive efficiency in that role (14.8 ppg, .568 FG). The .500 record shouldn’t be considered an indication that Marion is a poor fit in the starting five, however. As Carlisle points out, the Mavs are 11-4 when Marion is joined by Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler in the starting frontcourt.