DALLAS -- Rookie point guard Shane Larkin waited a long time before he got to play in his first NBA game. But it was well worth the wait.
In his first game with the Dallas Mavericks, Larkin contributed three points, three assists and three steals Monday in just nine minutes to help the Mavs squeeze by the Philadelphia 76ers, 97-94, before a sellout crowd of 19,790 at American Airlines Center.
Larkin had been sidelined since fracturing his right ankle during a July 5th practice session on the day the Mavs left town to participate in the Las Vegas summer league. Larkin underwent surgery on July 16 and had been working out vigoriously while waiting to get in a game.
The 18th overall pick in this past June's NBA Draft finally got his chance against the Sixers. And it was especially sweet for Larkin, whose parents -- including baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin -- were in town for the game.
"It was a great moment in my life and a great moment that I've been waiting my whole life for and working my whole life for,'' Larkin said. "To step on the court and hear the crowd cheering for you like they've been waiting for this moment is a great feeling.
"My teammates really helped me out there. Sometimes I didn't really know where I was going or what I was doing, and Vince (Carter) talked to me and Dirk (Nowitzki) talked to me and tried to calm me down and keep me poised out there.''
Those talks apparently worked, because Larkin looked like he had been playing with the Mavs for a few games.
"I thought he did very well considering it was his first live action in a real game,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've had a tough 10 days to try and get him ready because we haven't had a lot of practice time.
"He's been doing really hard workouts with two or three other guys, and we've simulated game situations, tempo as best as we could, but it's not quite the same. This is the beginning of a process, but I like what he did.''
-- Dwain Price
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