PHILADELPHIA – Of course, Dallas Mavericks point Darren Collison was not in the best of moods when coach Rick Carlisle told him he was not going to be in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Guard OJ Mayo and Collison were the only Mavs players who had started all 14 games going into the contest against the Sixers. Now, that list includes only Mayo.
And no one expects Collison to be happy about losing his starting status.
“You can only control so much,’’ Collison said. “At the end of the day coach is going to make a decision.
“He’s made plenty of rotation switches throughout this whole coaching thing.’’
Collison actually played one of his better games of the season Tuesday, with the demotion seemingly adding fuel to his fire. Although the Mavs lost the game to the Sixers, 100-98, Collison finished with 12 points, three rebounds, six assists, a career-high tying five steals and four turnovers in 30 minutes.
It’s the kind of performance that likely would have kept Collison in the starting lineup had he been putting on those type of numbers on a consistent basis.
“I just wanted to come in the game and show them that I’m a starter in this league,’’ Collison said. “But I also wanted to make it a point that it’s not about me, it’s about the team and I really just wanted to focus on winning and stuff.
“All that other stuff, it’s behind me. There’s lessons to be learned from it, but most importantly I’m just not satisfied with the fact that we didn’t win today’s game, if anything.’’
Carlisle said not much should be made about him inserting Dominique Jones into the starting lineup in place of Collison.
“He’s our starting point guard, but tonight he came off the bench,’’ Carlisle said. “Jason Terry was our starting two-guard, but he came off the bench for four years, so it’s not that big a deal.
“I love the way he played, and he impacted the game immediately with quickness and energy. I thought he was terrific.’’
Collison said he was glad to see his teammates come to his defense when they learned he was not starting against the Sixers.
“Everybody knows how hard I worked in the offseason,’’ Collison said. “My teammates, they stood behind me.
“I’m not in for all that drama stuff. At the end of the day I’m a team player and I’m very positive, and I’m going to make a negative into a positive situation.’’
-- Dwain Price
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