DALLAS -- Jason Kidd said the players did not go to coach Rick Carlisle as they did early in the season to endorse DeShawn Stevenson as the starting shooting guard. They didn't have to. The Rodrigue Beaubois experiment had run its course and Carlisle realized he had no choice. He had to pull the plug before the playoffs began.
"It was time," the Dallas Mavericks coach said Thursday.
Beaubois struggled mightily in his return from a broken left foot that limited his second season to just 28 games. He started 26 games, coming off the bench in his first and last games of the season. His availability as a role player off the bench in the first--round series is in question after he sprained his left foot during Wednesday's season-ending win over the New Orleans Hornets.
Carlisle said they'll monitor his progress and determine if the 6-foot-2 Beaubois, who has appeared mentally shot and physically overwhelmed in many games, will be available for Game 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
While the Mavs' veterans seemed willing to stick it out with the young guard, there did seem to gain a sense of relief, or perhaps more of a jolt of energy with the move back to the more rugged, 6-5, 218-pound Stevenson, who is a respected teammate because of his doggedness and determination on the defensive end.
"You could see it in the first quarter even though they [the Hornets] got a lot of wide open looks, nobody panicked," Kidd said. "D-Steve stretches the defense being able to shoot it. He's a veteran guy so he understands different schemes defensively. The third quarter was the same thing. He stretched the defense, he can guard the 2 or the point guard. That definitely helps."
Stevenson started 54 games and he is shooting 37.8 percent from the 3-point line. He hit 2-of-3 attempts against New Orleans. But, it's his muscle and edginess as a defender that could help the Mavs most against a bigger and stronger Blazers backcourt.