Carlisle: Give Dampier credit

DALLAS -- It isn't often that you'll hear a head coach praise his center's defensive performance after the opposing big man blows up for 32 points on 13-of-14 shooting.

Erick Dampier is dealing with unique circumstances.

Dampier's left knee has been bothering him for three weeks, causing him to miss a few games. It obviously bothered him last night, when he limped around with a big brace while Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut made bucket after bucket.

But Dampier battled for 35 minutes, grabbing 11 rebounds and coming up big in the final minutes. His presence helped prevent Carlos Delfino from hitting a floater at the buzzer that would have won it for the Bucks.

"Damp was playing really on a leg that was not right and he made three monstrous defensive plays in the last few minutes that put us in position to win the game," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Give him a lot of credit. He’s been struggling. It’s been a tough go here the last three weeks, but he’s giving us what he can."

It's likely that Dampier's left knee won't be right for the rest of the season. He might have to take the occasional game off, but Dampier will play in pain most nights.

The big man with the big contract has been a target of MFFL angst since he arrived in Dallas. His effort in what might be his final season as a Maverick ought to be appreciated.