HOUSTON -– Dallas Mavericks center Brandan Wright took ownership of the fact that he hasn’t been in coach Rick Carlisle’s rotation lately because of what he personally didn’t do on the basketball court.
“I’m just here to play basketball,’’ Wright said after Saturday’s shoot around at the Toyota Center. “I know what I can do for this team when I step on this court.
“If I do the things that I do best, I should be on the court playing. That’s self exclamatory. That doesn’t have anything to do with coaching.’’
Well, this past Thursday against Phoenix, Wright took heed to his own words when he picked up 16 points, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals in just 23 minutes of the Mavs’ 97-94 triumph over the Suns.
“He did a great job and he did it in a lot of different areas,’’ Carlisle said. “He was good on the boards, he defended well in pick-n-rolls, he got loose balls and he scored.
“So he helped us in a lot of different areas and it’s the kind of game we need from him any time he gives it to us.’’
The Mavs really needed Wright to come through against the Suns since Shawn Marion (strained right groin muscle) and Chris Kaman (sprained left ankle) both got hurt in the second half of that game and did not return. Now, they Wright will build on that chance opportunity tonight against a Houston team that got clobbered Friday night in San Antonio, 114-92.
“I’ve just got to be consistent and be ready to play,’’ Wright said. “We’ve got another big challenge playing a team that probably feels like they didn’t as well as they wanted to last night.
“We’re going to be down a guy in (Marion, who will not play tonight). “So we’ve just got to be ready to go.’’
Being ready to go is what this season has been all about for Wright, who started the first eight games, but whose playing time since has been all over the map. That includes a nine-game stretch from Nov. 14-Dec. 1 when Wright didn’t play in five of those games, and netted a total of only 35 minutes in the other four games.
“It can be tough sometimes,’’ Wright said. “You’ve just got to stay in it.
“You can’t zone out. If you zone out, that’s when you lose it.’’
And the Mavs can ill-afford to have Wright mentally lose focus at this juncture of the season.
“But it’s tough,’’ Wright said. “I’m not going to sit here and say it’s easy when you’re not playing.
“But you’ve just got to do the best you can and just keep your routine the same.’’
-- Dwain Price
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