Monday, November 18, 2013
Locker Room Buzz: Shane Larkin's debut
By Tim MacMahon
DALLAS -- Shane Larkin was still soaking up the experience as he soaked his feet in an ice bucket after his NBA debut.
The Dallas Mavericks’ first-round pick finally got a taste of NBA game action, four long months after he fractured his right ankle the day the franchise’s summer-league team left for Las Vegas, an injury that required surgery to repair.
Larkin, a 5-foot-11, 176-pound spark plug of a point guard, made his presence felt while playing 8 minutes, 35 seconds in Monday’s 97-94 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. He finished with 3 points on 1-of-3 shooting, 3 assists and 3 steals.
“I felt good,” said Larkin, the 18th overall pick in the draft. “I don’t feel like I’m back in my rhythm yet, but just to get out there was an amazing experience. I’m living my dream. I was out there smiling the whole night.”
The Mavs envisioned Larkin, who has been practicing for about 10 days, as a J.J. Barea type when they acquired him. He played some at both guard spots, joining fellow rookie Gal Mekel in the backcourt for stretches.
"He looked really fast out there, and obviously that’s what we need, some quickness backing up Jose [Calderon]," Dirk Nowitzki said. "He looked good. I thought he tried to play within himself. Don’t do anything he can’t do. He’s got to keep working. It’s early. This is his first game. He didn’t play summer league under NBA rules, so he has a lot of catching up to do, but he definitely has the potential."
Added Dallas coach Rick Carlisle: “I thought he did well considering. This is the beginning of a process, but I like what he did.”
Lineup logic: Carlisle opted to tinker with the starting lineup for the first time this season, sitting center Samuel Dalembert in favor of forward Jae Crowder.
The logic was that the Sixers liked to play smallball, and Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes is more of a threat shooting 3-pointers than posting up. Carlisle didn’t think Dalembert matched up well against the Sixers, so he had Shawn Marion start at center, with Crowder filling in at small forward.
The results were awful. The Sixers scored the first eight points of the game. The Mavs were scoreless for five minutes, a stretch in which Crowder missed five shots and committed two turnovers. Dalembert started the second half and played well, contributing 8 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks in 28 minutes.
“We should have started our regular way, but you live and learn,” Carlisle said. “It’s not like I haven’t made a lot of mistakes before.”