DALLAS – With all due respect to Tyson Chandler, the Mavericks are doing just fine with their tag team in the middle.
The Mavs have the NBA’s third-ranked defense and have held foes under 100 points for a franchise record 15 games with Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi sharing minutes at the big man spot. That duo both scored in double figures during Monday night’s win over the Suns, a first this season.
Haywood and Mahinmi are combining to average 13.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, numbers that aren’t far off those produced by the Chandler-Haywood duo last season.
“We have a good tag team just because we offer two contrasting styles of basketball,” said Haywood, who had 10 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes against the Suns. “We’re both confident in what we can do. It’s worked out pretty well for us so far. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
Haywood is the traditional paint-protecting, glass-cleaning big man. Mahinmi, who had 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 29 minutes off the bench against the Suns, is more athletic and has more finesse to his game.
“It’s Super Bowl time. It’s like the Giants,” said Haywood, the biggest football fan in the Mavs’ locker room. “You’ve got Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Guess which one I am.”
That comparison confused the Frenchman Mahinmi: “I have no idea what he’s talking about.”
That’s OK. All the Mavs care about is how Mahinmi fills his role, and he’s doing that just fine.
A few more notes from the Mavs’ seventh straight home win:
1. Who needs Hall of Famers?: The Mavs went 4-0 while point guard Jason Kidd rested his sore back earlier this season. They’ve won both of their games without power forward Dirk Nowitzki, who will sit out at least two more as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer goes through a personal training camp and deals with a sore right knee. “It shows how deep we are. I mean, it’s that simple,” Kidd said.
2. Raves for Roddy B.: Rodrigue Beaubois’ line in the box score was butt ugly. He had four points on 0-of-5 shooting and only one assist in 18 minutes, but coach Rick Carlisle offered praise for the young guard’s performance. “He stayed in the game mentally,” said Carlisle, who was particularly pleased with Beaubois’ defensive effort. “He was in a stance and he was a positive factor.”
3. Ason Watch: Jason Kidd’s 3-point problems might be contagious. His primary backcourt partner appears to have caught the bug. Jason Terry was 1-of-5 from 3-point range against the Suns, which actually improved his long-distance percentage over the last five games (.194, 6-of-31). Kidd is 15-of-60 (.250) from 3-point range this season.