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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Pregame buzz: Rotation in flux right up to playoffs

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Rotation? Who needs a stinking rotation?

It's not the first time in his four seasons coaching the Dallas Mavericks that Rick Carlisle hasn't exactly had a set rotation. Oh, he'd like one four games away from the start of the playoffs, but the banishment of Lamar Odom and other issues have made Carlisle's substitution patterns more of a game of feel than habit.

"At this point it may be kind of a game-to-game thing going forward," Carlisle said. "I'd like for us to be able to settle on something, I just don't know if it's possible because the teams we're facing are all different, the dynamics and a lot of things. But we'll see. I really don't have the answer."

The most interesting positions of fluidity are center and power forward with Odom gone. At center, Brandan Wright and Ian Mahinmi tend to go up and down with their minutes depending on the opponent. Bigger centers often keep Wright tethered to the bench.

Shawn Marion is now tasked with more time at power forward with Carlisle experimenting a bit with Wright at forward and Mahinmi at center. Yi Jianlian and Brian Cardinal are also low-minute options at power forward.

"Marion is the guy that is the most proven, we know how that group works," Carlisle said. "The Wright-Mahinmi experiment has had some good moments, but it's been difficult to really evaluate that in four games. We'll see. Tonight it will depend on the game. I don't have a definite rotation laid out. Unless there's some kind of a glitch, Marion will be the first guy to play the power forward spot when Dirk [Nowitzki] goes out."