DALLAS --Rick Carlisle didn't mince words when the discussion Friday turned to the Dallas Mavericks' centers.
Newcomer Samuel Dalembert has been penciled in as the opening-day starter in the middle, with Brandan Wright, DeJuan Blair and Bernard James slated to get their share of minutes. But with Wright out indefinitely with a small non-displaced fracture of his left shoulder, the pressure is on the other centers to step it up a notch or two until he returns.
"We've got to do it by committee,'' Carlisle, the Mavs' coach, said after Friday's practice. "Blair's got to be ready to play (center), Sarge (James') got to be ready to play (center).
"Dalembert is obviously a very, very important guy. And until Brandan gets back everybody’s got to be ready, and when he gets back everybody's got to be ready.''
Owner Mark Cuban is excited about what he's been able to see thus far from Dalembert, who had one of his worst seasons last year while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.
"We need to get B-Wright back, but Sam has done a great job of responding to Rick and to his teammates,'' Cuban said. "It's not just Rick -- I think one of the nice things is everybody’s holding each other accountable.
"Sam is not only working hard in practice, he’s coming early, and if he can’t come early he stays late, he’s getting in the extra work. He was coming in at 8 in the morning when we were in town, so he's really working because he knows he can be a special part of this team.’’
-- Dwain Price
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