Dallas Mavericks: Dallas Maverick

Fountain of Youth: Minutes for Ian Mahinmi

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
11:00
AM CT


LOS ANGELES -- Rick Carlisle has used 13 players more than once and he's gone as deep as 11 before halftime. But, in meaningful, high-intensity games, it is apparent that Carlisle will shorten his bench, too.

That's what he did in Monday's loss at the Los Angeles Lakers. Carlisle matched L.A. by limiting his bench to four players. Carlisle ultimately played his reserves longer, with Jason Terry logging a team-high 34:21 and Lamar Odom and Ian Mahinmi each playing about 24 minutes.

Mahinmi, it is clear, is the one young Dallas Mavericks player who has earned consistent playing time, and even more time in some games, than starter Brendan Haywood. A most intriguing aspect to Mahinmi is his ability to catch the basketball, make a fluid move and score. He's shown smooth moves down low and going off the glass as well as a soft jumper from the baseline and up top.

Mahinmi has made Carlisle's life a bit easier by shoring up the center position after Tyson Chandler's departure. The Mavs desperately tried to add big bodies just in case, but Mahinmi's progress has meant Sean Williams is playing in the D-League and Brandan Wright being relegated mostly to garbage time.

Against the Lakers, Mahinmi had nine points and 10 rebounds, while Haywood managed a free throw and seven boards.

The Mavs' other young players will just have to take their minutes when they can get them, against weaker opponents, in garbage time, in back-to-backs or at the end of long stretches like this season's popular four-games-in-five-nights sequence.

Dominique Jones was assigned to the Texas Legends on Sunday and even with Vince Carter's sprained foot taking him out of the lineup for at least one game and likely more, Jones won't be recalled just yet. And then there's Rodrigue Beaubois, the third-year guard who did not get off the bench in Monday's game, but could be looking at another window of opportunity in light of Carter's injury.

Jason Kidd's recent four-game hiatus with back spasms allowed Beaubois to get increased minutes and after some initial criticism by his coach, Beaubois turned in some steady performances the Mavs will need as Carlisle carefully navigates minutes through the compressed schedule.

"I don’t know the way he is going to use me, so I have to be ready," Beaubois said after Tuesday's practice. "I have to bring my energy on D."

The lithe, 6-foot-2 combo guard is averaging 5.3 minutes on just 37.3 percent shooting (and worse on 3s), but he did have a 15-point outburst last week and Carlisle credited him for playing a more disciplined brand of defense.

"He's in the picture always," Carlisle said of Beaubois' status in the rotation.

Only now, for a second time in as many weeks, he has a chance to bring more clarity to his role.

Post-up could be big boost down low

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
3:58
PM CT
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks have introduced a new option to the offense, or at least one that presents far greater opportunity than with any recent Mavs team.

The post-up is in high demand, from going down to Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, to Lamar Odom and Vince Carter, to even the Mavs' centers, Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi, getting into the act. Never has Dallas been so big and seemingly so versatile. Six games in they feel they are only scratching the surface with advantageous offensive options.

"You just have to find your spots," Carter said, "and I think now we’re starting to understand how we all play, each individual plays and how we can play as a team and how your role fits in the offense."

The 6-foot-6 Carter is playing shooting guard, but also getting time at small forward. Odom plays both forward positions, and in Monday's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was handling the ball as point forward and initiating the offense.

"Vince is a very good post player for his size and when he plays at the 2, he’s going to have a lot of mismatches and we want to get him down there when that happens," Dirk Nowitzki said. "He has a good fade away and he can go in the middle and get fouled and he does a good job of ripping through, getting to the basket or getting to the foul line and that will be big for us. Lamar is so versatile that he can attack in a lot of ways. He can post up or he can drive either way so if those guys attack for us it will make it a lot easier for me and Jet to score."

The ability to post-up multiple players that are also all good passers should be a significant weapon for a player like Carter coming off the bench. He can usually post up a smaller guard as he did in Monday's game when he took advantage of Eric Maynor. And if the shot isn't there, Carter, who scored a season-high 14 points is a good passer, and can find shooters like Jason Terry on the perimeter.

"It’s a part of his game we need," Terry said of Carter's post-up. "It’s going to be a strength of ours because when we come in there with that second unit, there’s going to be matchup problems. One of the problems they’re going to have is facing Vince Carter in the post with one of their smaller guards."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9