<
>

Mavs had idea Butler wouldn't play

After the Mavericks' 101-96 victory over the Lakers Wednesday night, coach Rick Carlisle said he didn't know Caron Butler wouldn't play shortly before tip-off.

That's true to an extent. Butler was at the AAC Wednesday morning for shootaround as well as before the game trying to get himself ready to play. But, he ultimately decided that the bad reaction he had to medication wouldn't allow him to play. The reaction hit Butler Tuesday, so the Mavs, Jason Terry said were mentally preparing to play without Butler well before game time.

"We knew before everybody. I think we knew [Tuesday] so no suprise," Terry said. "He'll be back stronger and better than ever, but DeShawn Stevenson took the challenge, came out, gave us a good lift early and we were able to maintain our defensive aggressiveness and offensively we kept pushing the tempo."

Stevenson, the third player from Washington in the blockbuster deal, started just his 15th game of the season and first for the Mavs. He stepped right into Kobe Bryant duty and held his own, keeping Bryant scoreless in the first quarter. Stevenson said Carlisle informed him during shootaround there was a good chance he would get the start. Stevenson said the early notification gave him a chance to prepare for the task.