Rick Carlisle said before Thursday night’s game that
he “absolutely’’ wants to have a set starting lineup,
particularly at the small-forward position, when the Mavericks head into the
playoffs in three weeks.
Shawn Marion will be starting tonight at small forward, and Carlisle
said it’s likely coming down to Marion and Peja Stojakovic to be the
starting small forward.
“I’d like to get something consistent
going,’’ Carlisle said. “I don’t know that we’re
going to get to an exact rotation at any point. I think we know who our nine or
10 main guys are. But the last time we played these guys, Brian Cardinal ended
up being the most important player because of fouls. We were stinking that
night and he came in and charged us up. With the value of our roster, I
don’t see us getting into an eight-man rotation. I think we’ll play
nine guys with the other three guys definitely playing.’’
And for now, Marion will be the starter. But that
doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way.
Marion has averaged 14.9 points in 16 games as a starter. He’s
played 30.5 minutes in those games.
He’s averaged 11.2 points as a reserve, playing 26.9
minutes per game. He’s averaged the same amount of rebounds regardless.
The Mavericks’ record with Marion as a starter is
6-10, but that record is skewed because many of those starts came when Dirk
Nowitzki was out with a knee injury.
“Marion’s going to start tonight and I think the
(Michael) Beasley matchup merits that,’’ Carlisle said.
“I’m not going to say this is written in stone at this point, but
both Peja and Marion have played very well, both starting and off the bench. So
we’re going to take a hard look at this.’’
Consider tonight the opening arguments in the court battle
for the starting spot.