Carlisle, Mavericks Face Rest vs. Repetition Challenge


Rick Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks are in an interesting spot. They’re locked in to the 7th-seed in the western conference, unable to improve their position and in no danger of falling in the standings with three games left on the schedule.

The question now becomes: how do they play things out?

On one hand, every chance for the starting unit to play together and continue to jell is important. Injuries, mostly to Rajon Rondo and Chandler Parsons, have disrupted Dallas’ mission to build cohesion within the group following the acquisition of their starting point guard in late December.

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On the other hand, the veteran-laden roster could really use some fresh legs heading into postseason play, and playing guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler big minutes in meaningless games is counterproductive in that regard.

Friday’s double-overtime win over the Denver Nuggets certainly didn’t help, even with the second unit playing late in the game. Chandler was held to fewer than 31 minutes, but Nowitzki played almost 38.

With the Mavericks’ next two games coming against the Los Angeles Lakers (21-58) and the Utah Jazz (37-43), should Carlisle find a night off for those two? They’re tried and tested in the playoffs already, and taking a game off would probably help more than it hurts. Especially since Chandler Parsons remains sidelined with a knee injury anyway.

And does Carlisle give Monta Ellis a chance to rest up? He’s still on the right side of 30 years old, but plays as hard as anyone in the league and has averaged 36 minutes a night in his last five games. Rajon Rondo was given the night off in Denver, and doing the same for Ellis either against the Lakers or Jazz might not be such a bad idea.

It’s a fine line for Carlisle, but he’s been walking this type of tightrope all season long all while juggling different egos and roles. We’ll see what direction he goes in the very near future, but don’t be surprised to see some big names sit at least one of these final three games.

At this point it’s probably too late to form stronger bonds than what they have currently. Dallas’ best shot now would be to enter the postseason refreshed and rejuvenated.

Next: 5 Under the Radar Free Agents the Mavericks Should Consider

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