Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd makes shocking changes to starting lineup

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets
Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Before last night's victory over the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks had lost five of their six games. Dallas' most recent loss came to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, and Dallas' defense continued to be horrible. Some fans were calling for head coach Jason Kidd's job, and the vibes were not great following the Indiana game.

But last night was different.

Thursday night's victory over Miami was a big step in the right direction, and after the first quarter, Dallas' defense looked much better.

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd makes shocking changes to starting lineup

They held the Heat under 110 points, and Dante Exum and Dereck Lively II's defense down the stretch was spectacular. Both players gave the Mavs an energy boost when it mattered most, and Dallas must continue to be better on that end of the floor if they want to be serious contenders in the Western Conference.

While most Mavs fans remember the biggest changes from last night's victory over Miami being the re-emergence of Exum and the much-improved defense, Kidd made a massive change to the starting lineup that we could see moving forward.

Yesterday, before the game, Kevin Gray Jr. of 97.1 The Freak reported that a Mavs source told him that the team wasn't panicking due to their poor defense, and they believed it could be fixed. They also told him that "Dereck Lively hasn't come back from injury the same defensively & is probably hitting the rookie wall right now which isn't a surprise."

Later that day, Kidd completely changed the starting lineup.

Kidd's starting lineup consisted of Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., P.J. Washington, and Daniel Gafford. This was a starting lineup that Kidd had never used before, and this could be a lineup he considers using moving forward considering his openness to make lineup changes that he noted after the Pacers game on Tuesday night.

This new starting lineup sent Green and Lively II to the bench unit, and this change could actually be a big help for Lively II. Kidd sending Lively II and Green to the bench was a move that surprised many, but both players have been less productive as of late.

Lively II sometimes gets in foul trouble early in games, and starting Gafford may be a move that benefits both players. Gafford can set the tone of the game while Lively II comes off the bench.

Lively II remains a key factor for the Mavs, and he was in their lineup to close last night's game, but his run as the starting center may have ended if Kidd continues to roll with the lineup he used last night.

For all the latest on Jason Kidd, Dereck Lively II, Daniel Gafford, and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.