NEW ORLEANS -- Perhaps what transpired Friday night at the New Orleans Arena will be the game-changing game that'll earn Samuel Dalembert some more playing time.
On the outs lately because he recently was tardy for practice for a second time this season, Dalembert scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots in 18 minutes during Friday's convincing 107-90 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Afterwards, Dalembert didn't believe he had to win any trust back from his teammates after he clearly showed he couldn't get to practice on time on two occasions.
"I've never had any problems with my teammates,'' Dalembert said. "Nobody is perfect.
"I'm not a lazy person in practice. I think the level of trust is always there from my teammates."
It's clear that the Mavs are a much better team when Dalembert is focused, protecting the rim and grabbing rebounds.
"He's just got to be a little more professional and show up on time like everyvbody else has to,'' forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "But I still like what he brings to the team.
"We've kind of got a three- to four-headed monster there at (center), but his length and his ability to jump, none of the other guys got. So I still like when he's active and defends and rebounds and changes shots, that makes us a different team.''
Based on the way he played Friday, Dalembert proved he should be the starting center and collecting consistent minutes for the Mavs.
I''m always ready, as you can see,'' Dalembert said. When I come back in I'm out there and I'm going hard and I'm doing what I can do help win the games.
"When they do call my name, I'm ready.''
-- Dwain Price
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