I guess Avery Johnson didn't want to give away his starting lineup this morning to those rough-and-tumble New York Knicks. Asked if Stackhouse would make his second start as the shooting guard, Johnson said, "It's possible."
Take that as a yes. Right now Johnson is searching for anything that works and this is 100 percent a defensive decision. With Jason Terry starting with Jason Kidd, Terry's inability to guard bigger two-guards was forcing Johnson to use Kidd on them, something Johnson thought might work initially. It hasn't. So the same problem exists as before the trade, the Mavs simply don't have that taller, athletic two-guard, so Johnson's got to figure out a way to mix-and-match the best he can.
Here's what he likes about Stackhouse as a starter:
"We like the look because it's just hard when Kidd has to guard the Kobe Bryants and McGradys when Jet is in the lineup. So we may have gained some stuff on offense, but we thought that we suffered severly on defense. Now Kidd can play the point guard like he's used to. We wanted to give Stack a try because we also feel that other guy that's in the lineup has to be a guy that can score, which is tailor-made for Kidd's skill level."
Let's see, at the two-guard spot this season has been Eddie Jones, Jason Terry, Devean George (Moe Ager even got a brief look) and now Stackhouse. Terry's back on the bench. It will be interesting to see how many minutes he plays tonight. He logged just 17 against the Nets, but was that a product of a non-competitive game which allowed Johnson to play newcomer Antoine Wright 22 minutes, or is Terry's slumping shot and weak defense frustrating Johnson?
Here's what Johnson said he likes about Stack at the two-guard to start the game.
That might be hard to answer against an awful Knicks team. The real test stars on March 18 when the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs visit the Mavs in succession.
-- Jeff Caplan