Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Fountain of Youth: Ins and outs of Ian Mahinmi
By Jeff Caplan
Mavericks backup center Ian Mahinmi started the season like gangbusters. As time went by power forward-turned-center Brandan Wright started eating into the 20.9 minutes a game Mahinmi averaged in January.
And then on Monday night at Utah, there was Mahinmi, running the floor and racking up 36 minutes, including the final 30 minutes of the triple-overtime loss, save for the last 14.4 seconds of the game.
Mahinmi didn't exactly rack up the stats with six points, five rebounds and five fouls, but he was part of the unit that made a comeback from an 81-72 deficit in the final five minutes of regulation and more than once was on the verge of getting the win in the first two overtimes.
The 36 minutes were two more than his previous season-high of 34 against the Spurs on March 23. It's been season of up-and-down playing time for Mahinmi.
In February, he played 11 games and averaged just 12.0 minutes a game. In 18 games in March, he bumped up to 22.5 minutes. Before his big-minute night Monday, he had averaged just 12.1 minutes in April.
Where does Mahinmi's minutes go from here? Opponents probably dictate everything. Against bigger teams like the Lakers, Mahinmi's muscle is going to be needed behind Brendan Haywood. Against the Spurs or Thunder, Wright could get the call more often.
All Mahinmi can really do is live by coach Rick Carlisle's mantra: Be ready.