DALLAS -- During the Dallas Mavericks' recent two-game road trip to Indiana and Cleveland, center Bernard James played like he wants a more pivotal role with this ballclub.
In those two games, the rookie from Florida State combined to score 13 points, grab 12 rebounds and block five shots in 32 minutes of action. That's more, James played as though he doesn't have any problems protecting the paint.
"He's tough and he's combative inside and he goes after the ball,'' coach Rick Carlisle said after Monday morning's shoot around at American Airlines Center. "We've got to have toughness.
"That's one of the reasons we need (Elton) Brand to be in our rotation. Dahntay Jones brought us toughness the other night (against Cleveland) in the last 14 minutes, DoJo (Dominique Jones) brought some physical toughness to the game.''
James has slowly gotten the minutes that normally went to Brandan Wright, who fell out of favor with Carlisle last week for his lack of rebounding. Meanwhile, the 6-10, 240-pound James has made the most of the minutes Carlisle has thrown his way.
"Bernard, even though he's not a big bruising-looking physical type guy, he plays with a lot of heart,'' Carlisle said. "He's not afraid, and he'll hit people.''
-- Dwain Price
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