Dallas Mavericks: Rick Carlisle Ian Mahinmi

Brendan Haywood, Brandan Wright back

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
11:47
AM CT
DALLAS -- The Mavericks will finally have their "three-headed monster" back at center for tonight's game against the woeful Washington Wizards.

Centers Brendan Haywood and Brandan Wright participated in the morning shootaround and are expected to play.

That's great news for a struggling team that was built to rely on its depth. Yes, the Mavs have had two full days to rest from their awful road trip, but that doesn't mean that the second-oldest team in the league will be fully recharged from playing five games in six nights and nine an 12.

Getting two big bodies back after five- and six-game absences to defend and rebound will be key in a game the Mavs simply have to have.

Wright sustained a concussion March 2 at New Orleans. Haywood, the Mavs' starter all season, sprained his ankle in the opening minute of the loss at Oklahoma City on March 5.

"We miss him a lot," coach Rick Carlisle said of Haywood. "We basically missed him for five games and we struggled. It's a case where the way our team is structured, and it's the same as it was last year, if we're missing one guy that's a key guy it can really affect our entire thing. He's very important and Brandan is very important to us."

Dallas, desperate to turn around a 2-7 stretch since returning from the All-Star break, will be happy to have its center rotation back on the floor against Wizards big men, 7-foot starting center JaVale McGee and 6-11 Andray Blatche.

Wright slowly emerged as key reserve for the Mavs, providing energy and above-the-rim play after being seldom used in the first month or so of the season. Wright's ascension has dropped Ian Mahinmi's minutes, but Mahinmi, who actually leads the three with a 6.3 scoring average, made a strong case for himself over the last week to see more floor time as the fill-in starting center.

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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