There were moments when the offense got so stagnant in the fourth quarter Wednesday night that the Mavs seemed to really miss Jason Kidd’s orchestrating ability.
All in all, however, the Mavs couldn’t be happier about Delonte West’s stint as the fill-in starter at point guard while Kidd rests with a sore lower back.
They’ve won three in a row without Kidd, climbing above .500 for the first time this season. West has averaged 10 points, 5.7 assists and 3.3 steals during the winning streak.
“Delonte West flat out competes all the time,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s been great the last three games.”
There obviously won't be anything resembling a point guard controversy in Dallas. The fact that West has proven he can be a reliable starter in that role should benefit Kidd tremendously, allowing the coaches to manage the 38-year-old's minutes to make sure he's fresh for the playoffs.
Carlisle especially appreciates the intensity and tenacity that West provides on the defensive end of the floor. He’s the primary defender against quick point guards even when Kidd is healthy.
Offensively, West has filled J.J. Barea’s shoes as the Mavs’ primary penetrator and pick-and-roll initiator. West admitted there were times during his 5-of-14 shooting night against the Celtics that he got too aggressive instead of acting as a facilitator.
“I snapped back for a minute and caught myself doing a little too much out there,” West said. “My teammates carried me through the end.”
As a whole, however, it’s West who has given his teammates a big lift while their floor general gets well.