DALLAS -- Everything was going pretty good for the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night against the powerful Indiana Pacers.
The Mavs were keeping pace with a team some have picked to win this year's NBA title. And Dallas even managed a 41-39 lead at the half, despite turning the ball over 20 times at that juncture.
Plus, center Samuel Dalmbert -- a key component on this team -- had manged to pick up just one personal foul by intermission.
Then came the second half. And the fouls kept piling up for Dalembert.
The 6-11 center was charged with his fourth personal foul and went to the bench with 7:55 remaining in the third period and the Mavs nursing a 51-45 lead. From there, the Mavs turned to 6-6 DeJuan Blair to play center, and he didn't have a very good time trying to keep 7-2 Roy Hibbert off the low blocks.
Translation, until Brandan Wright returns from his dislocated left shoulder, the Mavs may be in a world of trouble at the backup center spot. That's why kepeing Dalembert on the floor and out of foul trouble is so crucial to the Mavs, who lost to the Pacers, 98-77.
"We've got to be able to keep him on the floor during his stretches of minutes,'' coach Rick Carlisle said of Dalembert. "We were playing well with him on the floor, and then when he went out the game changed.
"He's worked so hard the last two weeks to get everything going in a good direction. Tonight is a good example of how important he is going to be.''
-- Dwain Price
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