However, Dirk Nowitzki readily declared about 53 hours before Wednesday’s tip in San Antonio that no change in the Mavericks’ starting lineup was forthcoming.
“We’re rolling the way we’re set up,” Nowitzki said. “Jose has been our starter the whole year. We’ve got to start the game off a little better. I think we were a little slow and we were down eight or 10 pretty quick there in the first quarter, so we’ve got to be a little better there, but Jose is our starter. He’s the guy that puts us in our plays and we’re rolling with it.”
The Mavs face a major mismatch at point guard because of Calderon’s defensive limitations, and he struggled offensively in Game 1, scoring seven points on 3-of-9 shooting in 16 minutes. Small forward Shawn Marion opened the game defending All-Star point guard Tony Parker, who had nine points in the first quarter as the Spurs raced out to a 21-9 lead.
On the other hand, Harris had the hot hand, leading the Mavs with 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting and five assists in 32 minutes off the bench.
The Mavs’ normal starting lineup has been badly overmatched against the Spurs, having been outscored by 40 points in 33 minutes in the Dallas-San Antonio meetings this season, including Game 1. The Mavs have had a 24-point advantage in the 79 minutes that Harris has played against the Spurs, but that’s also evidence of the success the Dallas bench has had against San Antonio’s second unit, a strength that Carlisle might not want to mess with.
“We’re going to approach it the way we approach it, doing it the way we feel is best,” Carlisle said. “If we get to the point where I feel major lineup changes are in order, we’ll do it, but I’m not going to talk about it two days before the game.”
Nowitzki had no such reservations about discussing the subject, making it clear the Mavs are committed to continuing with Calderon as the starter.