CLEVELAND – The Dallas Mavericks will know Tuesday about the extent of center Samuel Dalembert’s injury.
Dalembert left Monday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers after straining his left shoulder with 10:42 remaining in the third quarter. At the time of Dalembert’s departure the Mavs were ahead 61-40 and well on their way to a 102-97 victory.
Also, the Mavs had won the rebounding battle in the first half against the Cavs 24-13. But with Dalembert out for the remainder of the game, Cleveland outrebounded the Mavs in the second half (33-15) and actually trimmed a 24-point deficit to just 91-89 with 3:25 left in the game.
A lot of what the Cavs were able to do during their second-half comeback occurred because Dalembert was out of the game and unable to play.
“I’ve always said all season if Sam is active and controls the paint we’re a different team defensively,’’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “He can be that X-factor for us defensively because he’s got that length.
“He jumps and is long and he tips balls. He got some good offensive rebounds in the first half, so we felt like when he’s active on the defensive end he’s a difference-maker for us, so hopefully he’ll be alright.’’
If Dalembert isn’t alright, the Mavs (25-18) will turn to DeJuan Blair and Brandan Wright to hold down the fort in the middle when they play at Toronto on Wednesday.
“I think (Dalembert) hurt his shoulder a little bit, but we’ll definitely need him because obviously Blair is a little undersized,’’ Nowitzki said. “(Blair has) been phenomenal for us this year, but he’s only like 6-5, 6-6.
“And Brandan is not a muscle kind of guy. He’s more of an in the free-flow game.’’
-- Dwain Price
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