Dalembert dressed out but did not play in Sunday’s 92-80 loss to the New York Knicks because he was late for the Mavs’ Saturday morning practice. He was benched for the first quarter of Dallas’ Nov. 18 win over the Philadelphia 76ers because he overslept for shootaround that morning.
“We need everyone to be all in,” said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, adding that the disciplinary action would be a one-game situation. “Our margins are obviously thin. So we are not going to reinforce behavior that is unacceptable, and that is just the way we are going to do business with him. And we need him, and I like him, and I think we can correct this, and I believe that we will.”
As was the case in November, Dalembert expressed remorse for his mistake. He also offered an excuse, saying that he has trouble sleeping at night.
“I just feel ashamed of it right now,” Dalembert said.
Dalembert, a 12-year veteran, is playing for his fifth team in five seasons in large part because of his reputation for being unreliable. He said he is “taking steps” with help from the Mavs to address his sleeping problem but didn’t elaborate.
“We’re taking steps to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore,” said Dalembert, who is averaging 6.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 21.1 minutes per game this season. “We move on.”
Without their only experienced traditional center, the Mavs were dominated on the glass by the Knicks despite Tyson Chandler playing only four minutes due to an illness. New York had a 47-34 rebounding edge over Dallas.
“We need him,” Shawn Marion said of Dalembert. “He’s a part of this team. But when you mess up and you make a mistake, you’ve got to be disciplined. Coach did what he decided to do, but we could have used him tonight. At the same time, that’s what it is and you’ve got to respect it.”
Vince Carter agreed.
“Nobody’s turning their back on him, first and foremost, because we know we need him,” he said. “We need him. He’s very important to this team, and I think he knows that.”
Carter said he hopes “it clicks” for Dalembert after this benching. The Mavs’ veteran sixth man believes this benching bothered Dalembert more than it did earlier in the season, because the big man had to helplessly watch a loss.
“He’s been in this league long enough,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “It can’t happen. It can happen once. We’ve all been late, we’ve all slept too long. But then you’ve got to learn from it and try to be a professional. It happened again, unfortunately. I guess we didn’t play him tonight and will kind of move forward; but as a team, we can’t let that be a distraction all the time.”
Marion sprains ankle: Marion limped off the court after the game and winced in pain as he put on his right shoe. He said he sprained his ankle on the second play of the game.
“I was playing hobbling,” Marion said. “I messed around and hurt my Achilles [tendon] a little bit. I’ve got to get that right.”
Marion’s hot streak ended in ugly fashion. After averaging 18.8 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 62.3 percent from the floor in the previous four games, Marion scored only two points on 1-of-6 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in the loss to the Knicks.