DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks have discussed inserting penetrating backup guard J.J. Barea into the starting lineup for tonight's Game 4 in place of DeShawn Stevenson in attempt to boost the team's sagging offense, a source said.
Stevenson has started all 18 playoff games, averaging 3.9 points and shooting 37.7 percent from 3-point range. The Mavs offense has struggled against the Miami Heat defense, averaging 88.3 points a game on 42.0 percent shooting. Barea is averaging just 4.3 points in the series, down seven from the last two series.
Barea, who is Jason Kidd’s backup at point guard, only started two games all season. Those starts came in early February, when Barea joined Kidd in the backcourt and Stevenson slid over to small forward.
The lineup of Barea with starters Kidd, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler did give the Mavericks a spark in Game 3. After Barea replaced Stevenson 91 seconds into the second half, the Mavericks went on a 15-4 over the next six minutes to tie the score.
That lineup has played together for only another eight minutes during the postseason.
Stevenson started most of the season, but he fell out of the rotation after second-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois recovered from a broken foot and was given a starting job. Kidd and Nowitzki helped persuade Carlisle to put Stevenson back in the starting lineup for the regular-season finale, and the Mavericks have stuck with that lineup throughout the playoffs.
Stevenson has shot well during the Finals (6-of-9 from 3-point range), but the Mavericks have been outscored by 17 points during his 50 minutes on the floor.
Barea has struggled against Miami backup point guard Mario Chalmers' physical defense. Starter Mike Bibby might be a more favorable matchup for Barea, but the change in the starting lineup would cause Jason Kidd to begin games defending Dwyane Wade.
Stevenson wore a white jersey along with the rest of the starters during the media access portion of the Mavs' Tuesday morning shootaround.