DALLAS – In coach Rick Carlisle they trust.
Chris Kaman and Elton Brand are a couple of proud NBA veterans who would prefer to start, as they’ve done throughout their careers. However, they accept that won’t always be the case with the Mavericks.
Brand had started all 11 games before he came off the bench in Wednesday’s win over the Knicks. He was back in the starting lineup for Saturday’s loss to the Lakers.
Kaman had started five straight games before Saturday night, when he came off the bench.
Neither Brand nor Kaman knows whether they’ll be starters when the Mavs play the Sixers on Tuesday. It’s a situation that would prompt a lot of players with their pedigree to complain. Brand and Kaman prefer to point out that Carlisle is one of the NBA’s elite coaches -- as evidenced by his championship ring -- and put faith in him to figure out what’s best for the team.
“He’s a great coach,” Brand said. “He’s going to figure it out and put it together. He has already a little bit this season and we got some great wins. We’re just going to follow his lead.”
Added Kaman: “He knows what he’s doing. I trust his decisions.”
Brand and Kaman both had rough nights in the lopsided loss to the Lakers. (Of course, most Mavs did.) Brand went scoreless, grabbed four rebounds and committed five fouls in 17 minutes. Kaman fouled out in 24 minutes, scoring four points on 2-of-12 shooting and grabbing three rebounds.
A few more notes from the blowout loss:
1. Rebounding repeat: The troubling trend of the Mavs getting hammered on the boards continued.
The Lakers had a 61-39 rebounding edge. That’s painfully similar to the Warriors’ 62-43 rebounding edge on Monday night.
It’s no coincidence that the Mavs lost those two games during this three-game homestand.
“It’s just disappointing when we see it on tape over and over again,” Brand said. “The coaching staff is not letting us slide. We’re watching it over and over again. They’re drilling it in our heads. We have to do something.”
2. Wright’s plight: Brandan Wright has no idea how he fits on this roster right now.
Wright didn’t play in two of the previous five games and then found himself in the starting lineup Saturday night. After scoring six points in the first six minutes, he didn’t get off the bench again until garbage time.
“I don’t know, man,” Wright said. “I think I’m doing everything I can. I thought I had a solid start tonight. Maybe it’s because we got down big or whatever. The rotation has been strange, but we’ve just got to keep rolling with it and see what happens.”
Carlisle has been clear that his biggest concern with Wright is his poor rebounding. Wright had one rebound in 13 minutes against the Lakers.
3. Mayo's jumper off: O.J. Mayo had an off shooting night, which hasn’t happened often this season.
Mayo scored 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting, the first time since the season-opening win over the Lakers that he had fewer points than field goal attempts. He was 0-of-5 from 3-point range, marking the first time all season that the NBA’s leader in 3-pointers made failed to hit at least one in a game. Mayo, who is 42-of-79 from long range this season, has hit at least two 3s in every other game but one.