Jason Kidd, fresh off a one week rest, looked like the Jason Kidd of old. He was running and gunning and the team fed off having him back in the starting lineup. JKidd finished the game with 7 points, 7 assists, 2 boards, and 3 steals. Not bad for 28 minutes of work. As well as this game went for Dallas, there were two areas of concern.
First, Roddy Beaubois quickly picked up two fouls early in the first quarter, effectively ending his half. Upon his return to the floor at the start of the second half, Roddy picked up two more quick fouls, giving him a spot on the bench until the last few minutes of the game. Beaubois ended up with only 12 minutes of game-time, tallying 5 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists.
Is it time to remove Beaubois from the starting lineup? I know that coach Rick Carlisle likes having Jason Terry coming off the bench, and rightly so. Perhaps Corey Brewer could start at shooting guard. He has been playing well the past couple of games and provided some energy to the team. DeShawn Stevenson would be another option for Carlisle if he decided to pull the plug on this experiment.
Another concern has got to be the foul trouble of the Maverick big men. Tyson Chandler got into foul trouble and was only on the court for 19 minutes. This may not be all bad, given Chandler has been bothered by a stiff back and the team will be in action again tonight. Even despite limited minutes, Chandler grabbed 12 big rebounds while scoring 4 points. Haywood played well, grabbing 11 more rebounds and contributing 5 points, 1 block, and 1 steal. Ian Mahinmi was given the night off.
Dirk had his usual stellar night, getting the team off to good start by knocking down several kick buckets and finishing with 18 points, 7 boards, and 3 assists. It is good to see Dirk getting some rebounds. He is going to need to be a force on the boards if the Mavs are going to go far in the playoffs. Shawn Marion had a double-double, scoring 18 and grabbing 11 rebounds. Peja Stoyakovic and Jason Terry added 17 points in limited minutes. J.J. Barea also added 15 points and 6 assists.
The bench scored a total of 62 points, leading the way for the Mavericks sweep of Phoenix this season. This win was big, not just because it is fun to dominate another team, but it brought the Mavs back into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the second seed. The Lakers once again look unmotivated as they have lost five straight, opening the door for the Mavs and the surging Oklahoma City Thunder, to possibly steal the spot. With only a few games left I would not hold my breath on either squad wresting the spot from the defending Champs, but we can hope.
Surely this will provide some extra incentive for the Mavs to play hard tonight in Houston as they would much rather face the Hornets or Grizzlies than the Nuggets or Blazers. It will be interesting to see how Carlisle approaches this game. Will Kidd and Nowitzki play more minutes if the game is close or will Carlisle stick to his plan to rest them? It would certainly be tempting to go for the win and the second seed.
Will Beaubois continue to start or has Carlisle seen enough? With two games left, it might be worth a look to see how the chemistry is with Brewer in the starting lineup. He is playing much, much better than Beaubois and should help the Mavs prevent the Rockets from getting off to a fast start. I, for one, would love to see this move. Perhaps Beaubois would feel less pressure and play better. I think the team would definitely benefit from having Brewer in the game from the start from a defensive standpoint, if not from an energy standpoint.
One thing is for sure. Thanks to the suddenly resurgent Mavs, the red-hot Thunder, and the surprisingly lethargic Lakers, the last few games should be interesting. Dominating drama in Big D is what we need to see!