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Friday, January 14, 2011
Ian Mahinmi eager to face old mates again

By Jeff Caplan

SAN ANTONIO -- The last time the Dallas Mavericks played in San Antonio they were down a center because Brendan Haywoodwas suspended. Tonight, the Mavs could be without under-the-weather Tyson Chandler. Either way, Ian Mahinmisaid he's looking forward to seeing some minutes against his former team.

"I know tonight’s going to be minutes for me," the third-year French center said after the morning shootaround. "I’m going to prepare myself and I am looking forward to the game."

Mahinmi had an excellent showing under emergency conditions last time against the San Antonio Spurs. He played 14 minutes, his second-longest stint of the season, scoring three points and grabbing four rebounds. If Chandler is too sick to play, it will be interesting if coach Rick Carlisle starts Mahinmi or Brendan Haywood.

"I like playing here. It’s always good to come back against your former team," Mahinmi said. "You always want to have a good game. Last game I had a good game and we got out of here with a win so it was a great feeling to me."

A win tonight would do the struggling Mavs a world of good. They're trying to avoid the first four-game losing skid of the season and get a positive start on the front half a tough road back-to-back with the Memphis Grizzlies resting tonight for Saturday's game. Mahinmi said he's not surprised the Spurs have bolted out to a 33-6 start.

"The fact that Manu [Ginobili] and Tony [Parker] and Tim [Duncan] had a great summer, they had time to rest themselves and they came back healthy as ever," Mahinmi said. "I think that helps a lot. They also have a great couple of additions like Gary Neal."

Health has been the Spurs' friend this season. They have used the same starting lineup in every game this season.