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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Fountain of Youth: Education of a point guard

By Jeff Caplan

Our weekly look at the Mavericks' young players:

DALLAS -- The flashes came fast and bright once again. Rodrigue Beaubois streaking to the basket. Rodrigue Beaubois splashing 3s. Rodrigue Beaubois scoring with ease.

Linsanity slammed on the brakes as Roddy B stole the show Tuesday night in just 20 minutes of high-speed action. It was exactly the jolt the Mavericks needed during this physically grueling, mentally grinding stretch of nine games in 12 days that has produced a lopsided ledger of losses. Dallas needs Beaubois to be an impact player at the point guard position now more than ever with Delonte West sitting on the sideline with a healing right ring finger.

"I told him before the game I thought he was going to have a good game," Jason Kidd said. "I thought he was going to score 24; that was my prediction for him to be aggressive. He started off great and, again, he got to the basket. I told him he's got to make free throws."

Beaubois got to the free throw line a season-best six times in the 95-85 win. He tied his season-high with four points at the free throw line. He had 18 overall on 6-of-11 shooting. He made his first 3-pointer moments after checking in late in the first quarter, but then went 1-of-5 from beyond the arc, probably putting up too many deep balls when he was having so much success driving, especially when matched up against Baron Davis.

"As a point guard, if you're going to have the ball 90 percent of the time, for your growth you have to be able to accept when to take shots and when not to and so he's going through that," Kidd said. "We need him to be aggressive like he has been and just understanding that you can't play with the ball dribbling-wise, you've got to be aggressive. He's the fastest player out there and he has to use that tool. If he doesn't he might as well sit down."

He did just that early in the fourth quarter Tuesday when coach Rick Carlisle lost patience with Beaubois after a momentarily lapse of concentration. After a near turnover, Carlisle yelled at Beaubois to wake up. Then Beaubois got tied up in the lane, got into a jump ball, which he lost and the Knicks scored at the other end as part of their 15-0 burst to start the fourth quarter.

Carlisle called for Kidd to get back in the game around the nine-minute mark, earlier than he wanted, which took Kidd's minutes a littler higher than Carlisle likes, at 32.

"We couldn't have won without him. He was the second-leading scorer, but again, he's out there and a lot of things are happening," Carlisle said. "He had some situations where he was a little casual with the ball and all of a sudden he's in the middle of everything and it's part of the learning thing when you play the point position. Obviously we need him and he's responded well when he's had situations where he's had these dynamic learning opportunities develop, for lack of a negative term."

And ultimately that's a positive.