DALLAS -- Center Samuel Dalembert didn't mind at all that he was lifted out of the starting lineup Monday for the first time this season in favor of forward Jae Crowder.
The demotion by coach Rick Carlisle had nothing to do with Dalembert, but more to do with the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers had a smaller lineup which Carlisle wanted to match up better with. Especially with Sixers center Spencer Hawes more proned to hanging around the perimeter shooting jumpers than banging down low with the likes of a Dalembert.
"He called me and he said,'Hey, listen I want to try something,' '' Dalembert said of his pre-game meeting with Carlisle. "He said he wanted to go small with them, and I said, 'Hey, if it's the best thing for the team, then I don't have any objection of that and we'll give it a try, but it seemed like it didn't work.''
Indeed, the Mavs did give the experiment a try. But like a bad concoction in a high school chemistry lab, it nearly blew up in the Mavs' face.
Crowder had one of the worst games of the season as he finished with just two points, six rebounds and three turnovers, and wound up missing 7-of-8 shots.
Thankfully for the Mavs' sake, Dalembert was solid as a rock as he pounded away for eight points, a season-high 14 rebounds and three blocks to help the Mavs to a 97-94 victory over the Sixers.
Even more meaningful was the fact that Carlisle admitted that it was a mistake starting Crowder ahead of Dalembert and going for a different starting lineup after starting the same five players during the opening 10 games.
"The lineup to start the game didn't work out, but we just had to keep searching,'' Carlisle said. "It's a case of a guy (in Dalembert) who didn't let that affect him.
"He came in and he was a big factor. We should gave started our regular way, but you live and learn.''
And the Mavs lived and won because Dalembert was a monster off the bench in what may have been his finest game with the Mavs thus far.
Dirk Nowitzki sounded like a player who would rather have had Dalembert in the starting lineup.
"I always like starting bigger and set a good defensive tone,'' said Nowitzki, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. "(Dalembert) changed the game for us.
"We weren't quite sure if there was a spot for him in this game because they go small a lot and they''ve got (Spencer) Hawes at (center). . .but he made it his game. He made an impact with his length, he was always there on the drives, he didn't leave Hawes wide open for three's, so he played well on the defensive end, got some big blocks, got some big rebounds, so he played a great game for us.''
Great enough probably for Dalembert to be inserted right back in the starting lineup when the Mavs (7-4) host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
-- Dwain Price
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But it is what it is, and we won the game.