DALLAS _ Don’t go looking for Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle to have a set rotation by the time the playoffs start next month.
It’s not going to happen.
“I’d like to get something consistent going,’’ Carlisle said before Thursday’s game against Minnesota. “I don’t know that we’re going to an exact rotation at any point.
“I think we know who our nine or 10 main guys are. With the value of the guys and the depth of our roster I don’t see us getting to an eight-man rotation or anything like that. I think we’re going to be playing nine guys with the other few guys stepping in and playing.’’
Carlisle already juggled the starting lineup tonight against Minnesota when he started Shawn Marion at small forward ahead of Peja Stojakovic. Carlisle explained that it’s because Marion matches up better against Michael Beasley than Stojakovic.
Ever since the New Year’s Day season-ending knee injury to Caron Butler, several players have been in and out of the starting lineup at small forward. Carlisle has basically determined that his top two players at that position are Marion and Stojakovic, and matchups will decide which one starts.
“Both Peja and Marion have played very well starting and off the bench,’’ Carlisle said. “So we’re going to take a hard look at this.’’
Marion sat out last Sunday’s game against the Golden State Warriors with a sprained right wrist. Stojakovic, meanwhile, scored 17 points in 19 minutes against the Warriors – his first game against missing six contests with a stiff neck.
The Mavs are keeping close tabs on Stojakovic, trying to make sure the 33-year old sharpshooter doesn’t have any more flare-ups the rest of the season.
“He’s gotten through the last couple days of practice in good shape,’’ Carlisle said. “But he’s got a neck thing and something going on with his disc, or whatever it is.
“So it’s something that needs to be monitored, but he’s done well with it and he’s worked hard to get through it. If he goes like this and he does play off the bench, minutes won’t be an issue.’’
For most of this season Marion had been coming off the bench about the same time Carlisle brought in guard Jason Terry. But that changed against Minnesota as Terry entered the game with 5:54 left in the first period and Stojakovic came in exactly two minutes later.
It’s a new wrinkle Carlisle said isn’t exactly etched in stone.
“Where it changes is Peja becomes the (small forward) with the second group instead of Marion,’’ Carlisle said. “That changes things some, but right now we’re going to run with this.
“Knock on wood – if our health situation can remain stable. And that’s so important. And in another 24 hours see what’s what.’’
-- Dwain Price
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