Thursday, May 3, 2012
Can Brandan Wright bring an energy boost?
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- The Mavericks three-headed monster at center, which seems a far-fetched term in relation to production, needs a jolt.
The combination of starting center Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright have combined in the first two games to average 11.0 points on 42.2 percent shooting, and 9.5 rebounds. All by himself, Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins has put up 6.5 points on 50 percent shooting, 7.0 rebounds and some extracurricular muscle along the way.
Backup center Ian Mahinmi has led the Mavs at 20 minutes a game, averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Haywood has averaged just 14.5 minutes, 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. Wright has shown his postseason greenness in just 6.5 minutes.
"Our centers combined were very productive during the regular season and it was a real positive factor for us," coach Rick Carlisle said. "They've done good things in these first two games, but we want those guys to be active. We need them to generate extra possessions for us when they can and we need them to have a physical presence. They're very clear on what we're asking of them."
The veteran Haywood must become more of a presence, but perhaps the most disappointing aspect is that the 6-foot-10 Wright has shrunk under the bright lights of the playoffs. In 12 total minutes played he has two turnovers, which is one more than his scoring total (he came nowhere close to scoring on his two shot attempts) and one fewer than his total rebounds.
During the season, Wright provided great energy boosts with his activity, yet in this series he hasn't come close to completing one of his patented two-handed jams. Wright didn't want to see a series against the Lakers because his playing time would be close to eliminated against Andrew Bynum. Wright figured to have an opportunity to shine against the Thunder's bigs.
It just hasn't been the case yet.
"It's two games and it's two road games and it's his first two playoff games," Carlisle said. "We're home tonight and we've got to turn some things around on a lot of different levels and he's going to have to be ready tonight."