The Dallas Mavericks play yet another “BIG” game tonight. It’ll be on the road in Los Angeles after concluding the franchise’s record 8-game home stand with a meager 4-4 record.
Before we delve into the fourth and final meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers, let’s focus on Dallas’ starting center Samuel Dalembert.
Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban had this to say to 103.3 FM ESPN about Dalembert in December:
“Actually, I think Sam is the key to our game more than anybody else. One of the things about Tyson [Chandler] when he was here is that he only averaged 28 minutes a game because of foul trouble. Sometimes he’d get into early foul trouble and we had [Brendan] Haywood to back him up.”
“Our backup center isn’t as strong this year as it was last year. [Brandan] Wright is more of a forward playing center than a true center, and so Sam staying on the court and staying healthy and being aggressive and not being afraid of fouls but not getting fouls will be one of the main indicators of how we go.”
Sammy D labeled as your team’s most important player? At times this season, any fan could be worried at that notion, but over time it’s evident Dalembert’s impact is as great as any Mavericks player.
Dalembert logged just seven minutes in Tuesday night’s gut-wrenching, yet controversial 122-120 overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors.
No one thinks its odd Dalembert didnt play in the 2nd half last night? Been playing pretty well as of lately
Prior to the Warriors game, the 13-year veteran center averaged 8.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 23.3 minutes in the previous seven home games.
The Mavericks own a 14-15 record when Dalembert plays less than 20 minutes; their record when he eclipses the 20-minuete plateau – 29-15.
Rick Carlisle expected the Warriors to possibly go small Tuesday with Andrew Bogut and David Lee inactive. Golden State’s backup center, 37-year-old Jermaine O’Neal put in 33 minutes and finished with 20 points and eight rebounds.
Check out this Inside the NBA clip where Shaquille O’Neal talks Dallas’ playoff chances and who he feels will be the key:
The Mavericks leap-frogged the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns last night and rest in the Western Conference 7th seed once again.
Perhaps when it’s said and done, Dalembert is the Mavericks key to success this season. His minutes simply need to stay north of the 20 to make it happen.
Video courtesy NBA.com/Turner Sports; Photo via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports