Stevenson's a stopper, not stupid

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Mavs didn’t want DeShawn Stevenson, who was a salary dump in the seven-player deal with the Washington Wizards. But they’re happy to have him now.

Stevenson has embraced his role as a defensive stopper on the fringe of the rotation. That’s a guy who could come in handy during the playoffs, with the West loaded with elite wing scorers.

“Everybody knows my rep is defense,” Stevenson said. “That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to play hard and not do anything stupid out there.”

Any offense from Stevenson is a bonus. He’s a 10-year veteran who is smart enough to know that the Mavs have many better scoring options. His contributions are often the kind that don’t show up in the box score.

That’s why Rick Carlisle praised Stevenson after he scored only two points in 26 minutes during his spot start Wednesday night. Stevenson had accomplished his mission of bothering Memphis star O.J. Mayo, who was held to 11 points.

With Shawn Marion's status uncertain, Stevenson could get another start tonight. No matter what, he's likely to get some minutes with the goal of getting under Portland star Brandon Roy's skin, perhaps setting the tone for a first-round series.

“He brings us toughness and defense,” Carlisle said. “He’s a knowledgeable player offensively and he knows how to play the game. A guy like that can help any team.”